Category Archives: Advertising

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How to Put Together An Effective Remarketing Strategy

How to Put Together An Effective Remarketing Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Remarketing is an incredible marketing tool. Before the days of the internet, if someone came into your store, browsed, even picked up and really considered a product, but then left without purchasing, there was no way to guarantee you’d ever see them again.

However, remarketing allows you to reach out to those prospects who are on the fence. When someone browses your website but doesn’t convert, it’s now possible for you to pop up again in their field of vision through the power of remarketing! You can target them with your advertising on other websites, and hopefully staying top of mind will eventually lead to that much-desired conversion.

This already sounds like a pretty great marketing tactic, right? It is, but there are ways to build a remarketing strategy that can take your efforts to the next level and get even more conversions from interested prospects. Here’s how you do it.

1. Set Goals

As with any great marketing campaign, an effective remarketing strategy starts with goal setting. What are you trying to do with these ads? This will depend on the kind of business you run. If yours is an e-commerce shop, selling relatively inexpensive items, you might be looking to get someone to make a purchase.

However, for those who run businesses with longer sales cycles—for example, a B2B consulting firm—your ideal conversion might not be a sale. Instead, it might be getting someone to give their email in exchange for access to a free ebook.

No matter what kind of business you run, it makes sense to set really specific goals for each remarketing campaign. Rather than creating one ad that you hope will serve various audiences, it’s best to establish a handful of specific goals and then create different ads that speak to each goal.

2. Decide Where You Want to Advertise

Remarketing can be done via search engines like Google or through social media sites like Facebook. Once you’ve established your goals, you can begin to think about which platforms make the most sense for your ads.

The major benefit to advertising on social media is that you are likely to get likes, shares, comments, and reposts from interested people (and since you’re retargeting your messaging to those who have already been to your website, you know they’re already interested in your brand!). Search engine marketing, however, will follow your customers across any websites that are ad partners with the search engine you do business with. This means that your audience will be greeted with your advertising across the web, not just on the social media site you’ve selected.

There’s no need to limit yourself to one platform. There’s often a huge benefit to being seen multiple times by your audience. Most people need to see a brand seven times before they decide to engage with them, so the more times you can get your name in someone’s field of vision, the better.

3. Define Your Audience

Once you’ve come up with your set of goals, you can begin to define and segment your audience. Let’s say you own a clothing store that has both a brick and mortar and e-commerce presence. There are a number of ways, then, that you can and should break down your audience.

You can segment and target based on location. For those people who have visited your website and live within a certain radius of your store, you can target them with advertising about your brick and mortar location. These ads, of course, are not relevant to people living on the other side of the country, so those folks should instead be targeted with advertising specific to your e-commerce offerings.

Those who have visited your store and browsed your men’s clothing options, you can retarget with messaging specific to your menswear options (and you can target those interested in women’s clothing with those offerings). You can even retarget customers who have taken specific actions on your website. For example, you can set your campaign to only show to customers who have put items into their cart on your site and then navigated away without completing the purchase.

The goals you set for each campaign will inherently be aligned with a specific audience. Defining the audience for your campaign early on ensures that your advertising is only being shown to the most relevant people, meaning you’ll get the greatest ROI on your campaign.

4. Set Your Creative

Once you’ve set goals and decided on your target audience, it’s time to settle on your creative. A huge part of creating great content is understanding your audience and speaking to them in your brand’s voice and tone.

There are also tools that help you to optimize your approach when it comes to content. If you’re running your remarketing campaign through Google, you can use responsive ads. With responsive ads, you input your various creative elements—different headlines, copy, and images—and Google runs them in various combinations so that they can learn which ones are most effective. From there, they’ll run the best-performing ads on your behalf, to give your ads the greatest shot at success.

5. Run Your Ads and Track Results

The final step is to get your ads up and running! Fortunately, advertising platforms provide detailed analytics so that you can accurately measure the results of your campaigns. The analytics allow you to measure engagement and conversions on each ad. Armed with this information, you can tweak your strategy as you go.

If there are certain ads that aren’t doing well, consider changing up the creative. If there are certain websites where retargeting is not effective, you can ask that Google not show your advertising on those sites any longer. Being willing to pivot and change tactics along the way is a huge part of finding long-term success with your retargeting efforts.

Remarketing is an incredible opportunity for you to recapture the attention of consumers who have already shown interest in your brand. When you take things step-by-step and develop a real strategy for reaching out to various segments of your audience, you can create campaigns with a great ROI.

What Does the Future of Paid Search Look Like?

What Does the Future of Paid Search Look Like? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Paid search has been an important channel in a comprehensive marketing strategy for years now. But we’ve also seen some major shifts in the way that PPC works, and as with most technological things, the pace of change isn’t slowing anytime soon.

That’s why it’s important for marketers and business owners to be forward-thinking. Noting the current trends and predicting how they’ll shape the future is the best way to stay a few steps ahead of your competition. Here, I’ll share some of my thoughts about what to expect from the future of paid search.

Automation Will Rule

Automation has become an increasingly critical part of paid search. We’ve seen Google Ads offer marketers the ability to create multiple headlines and descriptions for ads as a part of its responsive search ads program. Over time, Google pairs different headlines and descriptions together to find the combination that gets the best results.

Additionally, marketers can use automation on their own side to take the manual work out of handling bidding and budgeting for ad campaigns. This used to be a tedious part of the job, and with automation, you’re now freed up to spend more time on creating effective ads rather than fiddling with numbers.

I anticipate that the role of automation in PPC will only increase as technology becomes more advanced. This will help marketers to focus more on the strategic elements that go into creating a great ad campaign, and will help businesses maximize their ROI by automatically optimizing their advertising approach.

Amazon Will Move into the Space

Google has long been the gold standard for search engines, and so it’s long been the place where advertisers first turn to with their PPC spend. However, recent studies have shown that more consumers are starting their searches on Amazon now, rather than Google. And with this shift in consumer behavior, we’re also seeing a shift in marketers’ focus.

More marketers are beginning to purchase ad space on Amazon. The audience there is broadening, and it’s currently cheaper to market on Amazon than it is to advertise on Google. Now is the time for you to consider making the shift for your own business. Particularly if you offer goods or products that consumers might be searching for on Amazon, there’s the potential for you to get a lot more value from your ad spend on the e-commerce site.

Video Will Continue to Gain Ground

Text ads have long been the focus of paid search advertising. However, video has been gaining ground across all marketing efforts, and paid search is no exception.

More and more consumers are indicating that video is their preferred medium for learning more about a company. Why not give the people what they want? Plus, video is a great way to stand out in a sea of text. A colorful video with appealing music and engaging voiceover will catch the eye of searchers. And as we continue to see more marketers turn to video to tell their stories, if you don’t embrace the medium, you’ll get left behind.

New Ad Types Will Enter the Scene

Each year, we see Google expand and change their ad offerings. It seems like not so long ago that Google ads were simply the blue links that appeared at the top of search results. Now we’re seeing ads that incorporate images and video, plus ad types that are specific to certain industries, like Google Local Services Ads.

Plus, rumors that Google is thinking about charging for enhanced features on their Google My Business platform indicate that expanded offerings may be coming by way of that particular platform, which will be tailored to local business owners.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how and where Google will expand their efforts, it’s always worthwhile to keep an eye out for news about changes to their advertising offerings. When you’re able to stay on top of changes, you can get ahead of trends and get in on the ground floor of new paid search tactics while the investment is still low.

Marketers Will Think in Audiences, Not Keywords

The final major shift that I see in how paid search will operate moving forward is in the central focus in creating campaigns. Up to this point, it’s been all about finding the appropriate keywords for your ad campaign.

Audience data and segmentation tools have been continually evolving over the years. And search engines are making it easier than ever for marketers to target their ad spend at people with the right behaviors and attributes. Why do keyword research, hope you’re picking the term that will resonate with your desired audience, and then measure and refine your approach, when you can instead target ads at the audience that you know is most likely to find it relevant?

While it’s impossible to predict exactly what the future holds for paid search, by looking at recent trends, savvy marketers are able to infer what changes are coming and how best to capitalize on them for their business. Things like automation, Amazon, and audience segmentation aren’t going anywhere, so it’s best to figure out how to make these trends work for you so that you can outpace your competition.

Why A Solid Landing Page is Key to Effective PPC

Why A Solid Landing Page is Key to Effective PPC written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Some marketers choose to send prospects who click on their paid search results to their website’s homepage. While this will certainly get them to a page with relevant information about your company, it is not the most effective option when dealing with search marketing.

Instead of sending people to a generic page, it’s far more effective to design a custom landing page with information and an offer tailored to the verbiage in the paid search ad. While landing pages serve a number of other purposes, one of my favorite techniques is to create one for PPC ads. Here, we’ll look at the many benefits to creating a solid landing page for PPC, and what elements go in to creating a winning page.

Increase Conversion Rate

Designing a custom landing page is one of the keys to increasing conversion rates on ads. Your ad copy should be for a specific product or offer. When a reader clicks on the link, they want to learn more about that certain thing, not be taken to a page that’s more generally about your business.

When visitors are driven to your homepage, it’s now up to them to root around for information that’s relevant to what they saw on the ad. Even if you have a great website, it’s easy for them to grow frustrated and impatient, looking for the information they wish they had right in front of them in the first place. That makes them more likely to give up their search and return to the SERPs.

A custom landing page, however, that addresses the messaging from the ad directly, presents the reader with everything they want to know. This is a lot more likely to generate an immediate positive response from viewers.

Keep Cost per Click Low

A landing page with a high conversion rate also works to keep your cost per click low. When more people convert, you’re generating more revenue from the ad campaign, which means that you’re getting more bang for your marketing buck along the way.

Earn a Higher AdWords Quality Score

There is yet another bonus to creating an effective landing page for PPC ads. When you achieve higher conversion rates and keep visitors on your site for longer, Google takes notice. They infer that the content on your website must be highly relevant to searchers, and so in turn improve your standing on their site. They reward good ads with better placement and show them more frequently.

How Do You Build a Great Landing Page?

So now that you understand all of the value that a solid landing page can bring, let’s talk about how to create one. (And if you’d like a look at what not to do when creating a landing page, check out this post.)

Focus on One Call to Action

Visitors to the landing page are coming there because of the offer you made or product you cited in your PPC ad. Your landing page should contain just one call to action, and it should be directly related to the offer or product from the ad.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a plumbing company. Your PPC ad touts your same-day service. People clicking that ad are probably not interested in the work you do installing environmentally-friendly plumbing systems as part of home renovations. They likely have an emergency situation and are in need of immediate assistance. Your landing page should have a call to action that drives them directly to your online booking system so that they can get on your calendar ASAP.

Keep the Page Clean and Simple

Because visitors are coming there with one express purpose in mind, they don’t need a whole lot of information to convert. Instead, a simple headline; one big, bold, relevant image; and a clear description of the details of the product or service you’re offering will do.

Going back to the plumbing example, start with a headline that says something like “Same-day plumbing services, 365 days a year.” The image should be a hero image—one of your plumbers in front of his truck, striking a bold pose that says, “I’m ready to solve all your plumbing problems!”

Then the description of the service should include what you’re offering (licensed plumbers for same-day service) and what is expected of consumers (there’s a flat-rate fee for your service).

If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to designing your own landing page, check out these examples, gathered together by Instapage.

A solid landing page can help your PPC ads perform better, rank better, and generate more revenue for your business. By keeping your messaging narrow and targeted, you speak directly to the immediate needs of your prospects. And by building a simple, visually engaging page, you guarantee that you’ll catch their eye and hold their interest.

7 Common Mistakes Businesses Make With Facebook Advertising

7 Common Mistakes Businesses Make With Facebook Advertising written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Facebook advertising, when done correctly, can be a major asset to your marketing efforts. Facebook offers businesses a wide variety of advertising options to choose from, and with a network of billions of users, it provides the potential to reach tons of prospects.

However, there are a lot of moving parts that go into creating and maintaining successful Facebook advertising campaigns. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of the platform, it’s possible to fall into some pretty common traps. Here are some of the mistakes that I see businesses making time and again on the platform, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Setting Wishy-Washy Goals

Facebook advertising is a single tactic within your broader marketing strategy. But that doesn’t mean you can be less-than-intentional about the choices you make when designing your campaigns.

It’s not enough to just create posts promoting your business and hope that some generic good will come of it. You need to set specific goals for each and every advertising campaign you undertake. If you’re promoting the launch of a new product, set a goal to sell X number of units. If your campaign is designed to drive traffic to your website, set a goal to increase CTR by X percentage points.

By starting with a clear goal in mind, your messaging within the campaign will be stronger and more targeted. Plus, you’ll know which metrics you should be keeping an eye on and will know exactly how you’ll define success at the end of the campaign.

2. Selecting the Incorrect Ad Type

Once you’ve set goals for your campaign, it’s time to select the type of ad you want to run. Facebook offers businesses a wide variety of choices, and the various ad types can help you achieve all sorts of goals—from greater exposure for your brand to more conversions to facilitating offer claims.

Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy for marketers to determine what each ad is designed to do. Don’t try to get creative or reinvent the wheel in this step; go with the ad type that Facebook says best aligns with your goals.

3. Sticking to Only One Medium

If you’ve ever sat on Facebook and scrolled through your newsfeed, you know how easy it is for that content to simply become a blur. That’s why you need to do something unique to stand out from the personal posts, articles, and other ads filling up users’ feeds.

Facebook suggests that you keep text to a minimum on your images (ideally less than 20 percent). Include images that are bright, arresting, and are aligned with your brand’s tone. Go beyond still images and think about including video content.

But most importantly, mix things up. Even if you’re creating fascinating, engaging video ads, they’ll begin to feel stale after a while if that’s all you ever do. Mix up your media in order to keep viewers on their toes and eager to see what comes next from you.

4. Targeting Improperly

Facebook advertising targeting allows you to identify the desired audience for your ads. This keeps you from wasting your ad spend on people who would never realistically be interested in your business, but proper targeting is a tricky balancing act.

Make your audience too narrow, and Facebook will be unable to deliver your ad. However, make your audience too broad, and there will be lots of people who are not viable prospects seeing your ads.

The other mistake that marketers make is targeting the wrong audience. You might think you understand who wants to see your advertising, but unless you’re using your existing customers as a guide, you could be making some critical targeting mistakes and aiming your ad spend at the wrong group.

Take the time to analyze the demographics and actions of your current audience. You can even go so far as to send your existing customers a survey, asking them about their profile and lifestyle. Facebook even provides the option for you to create lookalike audiences for your advertising. By uploading a list of your existing customers, Facebook can then analyze that group for common attributes and target similar audiences.

5. Duplicating Efforts

Facebook is great at identifying their users who are most likely to want to see your advertising. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that people who are already familiar with your brand and who have converted on their own become the target of your Facebook advertising.

This is, of course, a waste of your time and budget. If they’ve already signed up for your newsletter, there’s no need to advertise said newsletter to them again! This is where the use of custom audiences comes in. Pull a list of all of your prospects or customers who have already taken the action you’re hoping to drive with the advertising and create a custom audience that excludes these people from seeing your ads. Not only does this save you money, it also keeps you from annoying those who have already said yes to your brand.

6. Letting Ads Go Stale

Even the best of Facebook ads begin to lose their luster after a few weeks. Users scroll past the same images and type time and again, and they eventually begin to gloss over the content. That’s why it’s critical for marketers to keep refreshing their ads on the platform. Changing up images, altering the text, and otherwise making the content appear fresh and new to the viewers is the way to get your brand noticed all over again.

7. Forgetting About Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a line of code that you insert into your website in order to track customer behavior on your website that happens as a result of your advertising efforts. This provides you with measurable data, so that you know if your ads achieved the desired results. This data can also help to inform your future marketing efforts. When you understand what was successful and what didn’t work so well in a given campaign, you can make changes to amplify the successes and pivot from the failures in the future.

There are a lot of moving parts for marketers to wrap their heads around when it comes to Facebook advertising. Understanding some of the most common mistakes businesses make can help you get more bang for your advertising buck and create content that stands out in a crowded newsfeed.

A Quick and Effective Approach to Facebook Advertising

A Quick and Effective Approach to Facebook Advertising written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Facebook remains the dominant social media platform. In a recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that there are more than 2.2 million daily users on the platform. That means that small business owners who are not advertising on Facebook are missing out on an opportunity to connect with about a third of the global population.

If you’ve been thinking about Facebook advertising but are intimidated by the process of starting an ad campaign on the platform, never fear. This simple guide will help you get your first campaign up and running.

Start by Setting Goals

What are you really hoping to accomplish with your Facebook campaign? Yes, you’re hoping for more business, but how will you measure success? Set clear goals with firm numbers. Something like, “We’re hoping to increase website traffic by X percentage” will help guide you through the process much more effectively than a goal like, “find new prospects.”

Establish Your Budget

Before you dive into the actual creation of the campaign, you’ll want to know the limits of what you can actually spend. A lot of small businesses don’t set a firm budget for Facebook and end up increasing their spend month after month, chasing greater results.

That is a recipe for spending well outside your means, and will also allow the Facebook advertising platform to run you, rather than you working intelligently within a budget to get the most out of what you can actually afford to spend.

It’s best to set a daily budget when you’re first starting out. This allows you to monitor your spend more closely, and you can adjust or pause spending as you learn more about your ad costs.

Find Your Audience

Facebook advertising can allow you to stay top of mind with your existing customers and also reach a whole new audience who might also have interest in your products and services.

You should already have some information about the customers you interact with regularly. Things like age, location, and gender are ways that you can narrow down the audience for your ads. You’re able to customize all of this information, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that just yet, Facebook can auto-select your ad placement for you.

You can also target your advertising towards people who have interacted with your business in person but haven’t necessarily encountered it online. By creating a custom audience for offline activity, you can present your advertising to people you’ve either met at in-person events or at your brick-and-mortar store (more details on how to establish a custom audience for offline activity can be found here).

You can also use the Facebook Pixel tool to install a line of code into your company’s website. This code tracks those who visit your site and will send them targeted Facebook ads based on their behavior. For example, if you own a shoe store and someone recently browsed your site for women’s shoes, you can target them with Facebook advertising for your new wedge sandals.

Facebook also allows you to create lookalike audiences using information you have on the demographics of your existing customers. You upload the information on your current customers into the Facebook ad platform, and they will generate a list of users who have similar attributes.

Settle on Your Ad Type

Facebook offers a variety of ad types of businesses. The type of ad you choose to create will depend on the goals you’ve set for your campaign.

  • Link click ads and video ads are probably what comes to mind when you picture a Facebook ad. They’re incorporated into a viewer’s newsfeed. They contain either a static image or video, and will direct traffic to your external website, to a landing page or blog post of your choice.
  • Boosted page posts are a little different. You can always post something on your business’s Facebook page for free, but you can choose to boost the post for a cost, amplifying the reach of the original post.
  • Carousel ads and collection ads also appear in viewer’s newsfeeds, and they provide them the opportunity to scroll through a variety of images. These are popular with retailers offering a variety of similar products.
  • Dynamic product ads are those ads linked up with the Google Pixel code. These ads are displayed based on a visitor’s past actions on your company’s website.
  • Lead ads contain a form within the ad, allowing viewers to download your ebook or sign up for your newsletter all from within the Facebook platform. This allows you to eliminate the steps of asking them to travel to your external website and click a call to action button there.
  • Page like ads allow you to drive visitors to your business’s Facebook page. They contain an image and text, plus a button for them to like your page.
  • Page post photo and video ads allow you to share photos or video from your Facebook page with your chosen audience.
  • App ads allow you to present viewers with a photo and an accompanying link encouraging them to download your business’s mobile app.
  • Event ads and offer claims allow you to promote a specific upcoming event or promotional offer for your business.
  • Local awareness ads allow you to target viewers within a certain geographic location. This is a great option for small local businesses hoping to reach people in their neighborhood.
  • Messenger ads are incorporated into the viewer’s Facebook Messenger feed. These messages appear alongside chats with their friends, and when they click on the ad, they can chat with your business.

Check out the guide in this article for more on which types of ads best align with which goals.

Check Your Progress

Once you’ve selected your ad type, you’re not done just yet! You’ll want to check in on how your ad is performing against the goals you set for the campaign. Continue to refine your approach as you go, tweaking your images and messaging in the ad, adjusting your target audience, or considering another ad type if you’re not getting the desired results with your present type.

Google Ads Changes Affecting Small Businesses

Google Ads Changes Affecting Small Businesses written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Changes to Google Ads

Google has recently made some drastic changes to their ads program—starting with a name change, from Google AdWords to Google Ads. Some of the changes are technical, like tweaks to the interface. Others represent fundamental shifts in the way Google views advertising. These will affect more than just your Google advertising efforts, but also how you approach other marketing tactics, SEO, and content.

Google is the dominant force in online advertising, so you can’t afford to ignore what they’re doing. Here, I’ll walk you through the most important changes and new features that small business owners need to be aware of.

Goodbye, AdWords

The biggest change is that we have known the primary Google ad tool as AdWords. Now, they’ve dropped Words, and it is just Google Ads. This is more than just a technicality, I think it signals a fundamental shift in the way they’re viewing advertising.

When Google originally launched their ad product, advertising was all about keywords, but times have changed. Google is so much more than just a search engine at this point, and the change in name reflects their omnipresence on the web.

The new name indicates a move towards a more comprehensive approach, one that will incorporate machine learning and behavioral tracking to better understand the true intent behind people’s actions online.

Google Ads on Your Desktop

One of the other significant changes small business marketers will see is that there is now an application you can download to your desktop: AdWords Editor.

Similar to the Facebook editor, the idea here is that you can now download your campaigns, work on them offline, and then upload them again. This means that you’re not stuck sitting on the platform the entire time, and can now get more work done if you’re offline and on the move.

Google Sheets Integration

If you’re not already familiar with Google Sheets, it’s essentially a free, online version of Microsoft Excel. The integration with the new ads program allows you to pull reporting from Google Ads and into Google Sheets.

Doing so allows you greater flexibility in parsing the data. You can filter by your own criteria, create reports, and track data more easily. This will be particularly useful for agencies or consultants who need to create reports for multiple clients.

New Comprehensive Campaigns

With their new advertising program, Google is providing additional support to small business advertisers, allowing those who don’t have the time or energy to create their own campaigns to leave that all in Google’s hands.

The skeptic in me feels that there is a tradeoff between convenience and value. They make it very easy for you to give them a budget and they’ll do the legwork, but you’re also handing over control and the appropriate measures to monitor and adjust how that money is spent. Without visibility into what’s actually being done to market your business, how can you understand how to get better results in the future?

  • Google Local SearchLocal Ads: Google allows you to create one campaign that will propagate against search, maps, places, pages, display, and even YouTube. This means you only have to design one campaign to be used across all of their many platforms, while Google makes the decisions about how to best tailor the approach in each place.
  • Lead Ads: A new unit on YouTube, Lead Ads allows you to collect an email address through an ad message. This is similar to Facebook’s Lead Ads, which have been around for a while.
  • Responsive Search Ads: You create a pool of headlines and descriptions, and Google tests each of those possible combinations to determine which is most successful. Depending on how many concepts you create, you can end up with thousands of possible combinations—it’s A/B testing in hyperdrive. This is designed to help you lift click-through and conversion rates significantly.

Responsive Search Ads

What About Organic Search?

While these new campaigns are great for those who are taking advantage of the Google Ads platform, what about those marketers or small business owners who are putting all of their faith in the power of organic search?

These new ads will drive up conversion rates, as Google continues to do the analytics on what makes the most successful campaigns for its paid advertisers. In addition to being successful, these ads are also huge. They still contain extensions, and so they are going to take over. This will only serve to force organic results further and further down the page. Those users searching on a mobile device will have to scroll for a very long time before hitting the first organic result.

The message here for small business marketers is that you can’t ignore Google Ads. You still need to have a comprehensive marketing system with other tactics, including social media and content, as a means to get into organic search. But at the same time, you can’t ignore paid advertising.

Google Local Services Ads

The last item, which does not impact everyone yet, is Local Services Ads from Google. Formerly known as Home Service Ads, Local Services Ads are currently focused on tradespeople, technicians, and providers of other services to homeowners, with plans to expand to additional categories.

Business owners must apply to be in this program and become “Google Guaranteed,” which means that they’ll have to clear a background check and Google will provide a money-back guarantee to anyone unhappy with the company’s services.

Google Local Services Ad

This comes at a price: Google does not send users directly to a website when they click on this type of ad. Google uses a tracking phone number so that they’re able to see which leads are generated from these ads; the business owner is then charged for those leads. And rather than charging a nominal fee per click, Google will now ask for $25-$100 per lead, depending on category and competition, because they’ve delivered a verifiable lead.

This new approach allows Google to be fully involved in the lead generation process, which gives them valuable information about the way people are searching for services and also allows them to charge small business owners a greater fee than they would for pay-per-click advertising.

As we see advertising moving more towards a focus on intent, a shift that is powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, we will see Google Ads encroach more and more in the search space. Google has created a system that encourages you to give them more of your ad budget, and while you certainly can’t ignore Google Ads as a part of your overall strategy, I would argue that there’s still great benefit in attending to your other marketing channels.

If you are struggling with managing the rapidly-changing online advertising landscape, Duct Tape Marketing can do an audit for you. Our Total Online Presence Audit is a comprehensive review of your assets online, including your ads. We can assess your strengths and weaknesses, and point you in the right direction.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Facebook and Google Ads – The Keys to Small Business Paid Search

Facebook and Google Ads – The Keys to Small Business Paid Search written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you want to run a business today, you need to be advertising on Facebook and Google. These two tech giants dominate the online advertising market, and their reach is so incredibly broad (both have billions of users each month) that to leave them out of your strategy is to not have an online strategy at all.

However, if you take a look into how to approach advertising on these sites, you’ll find some conflicting opinions online. And of course the advertising approach for a large company is going to be very different from the one undertaken by a small business with a limited marketing budget.

Here, we’ll look at how to make Facebook and Google work best for you, the small business owner.

Determine Your Budget

Before you go off down the marketing rabbit hole, the first thing you need to do is set a realistic budget for yourself. It’s entirely possible to run an effective marketing campaign online with an outrageous spend, but you’ll need to understand what you’re willing and able to spend before you can develop an approach to using these tools effectively.

When you’re thinking about budget, it’s critical that you consider the budget for the year, not just month to month. Your online marketing campaign will not be successful if it comes in fits and starts—as one of our guest bloggers noted here, being a consistent presence online and in front of customers is a key component of building trust and driving conversions. That means that when you think about marketing budget, you need to think about your long game.

Have a Gameplan

After you’ve determined what you’re willing and able to spend, you’ll also want to set really clear objectives for your marketing campaign. Sure, you’re hoping to win more business, but how do you measure success? Number of conversions? Number of sales? Percentage of revenue growth?

Understanding what your expectations are for your marketing efforts will allow you to better understand the results of your campaign and refine your approach further in the future.

Understand Your Prospective Customers

Each small business is solving a unique problem, and therefore has their own unique cohort of prospective customers that could benefit from their good or service.

One of the key benefits to using Google and Facebook advertising is that they allow you to get really specific about the people who will see your advertising.

How to Find Your Audience on Facebook

I go into greater detail on this podcast about setting up your Facebook Business Manager account, but once you have that up and running there are a number of tools you’ll want to take advantage of to identify your most promising prospects.

  • Facebook Pixel is a line of code that you can install on your own company’s website. This code will allow you to track those who visit your site and send them targeted ads on Facebook based on their behavior. If someone’s already expressed interest in your business by visiting your website but hasn’t yet become a customer, you’ll want them to encounter you again on Facebook. The more consistently someone sees your brand across various channels, the more likely they’ll be to go and check you out in greater depth.
  • Creating lookalike audiences is another key component to optimizing your Facebook advertising. Facebook allows you to upload a list of your current customers, and then they generate a list of users who have similar attributes to those with whom you already do business.

How to Find Your Audience on Google

Google also provides business owners with a number of avenues to target specific users with their advertising.

  • Google Ads (formerly AdWords) allows you to target your ads by location and search words. There is some legwork you need to do up front to research the most effective keywords for your business. Putting in the time at the start to do the research phase correctly can result in really stellar results for your business and will get you the most bang for your advertising buck.
  • Google Local Services Ads are an important tool for tradesmen, technicians, or those who offer services to homeowners. Local Services Ads curates a list of providers of a particular service in a particular area (i.e. “electricians in San Francisco”). This puts your business front and center with those homeowners who are in immediate need of the service you provide. Your contact information is available, and so it’s a direct way to not only generate a lead but gain a new customer right on the spot.

Understand How to Best Use Each Platform

Facebook and Google both allow you to target your most promising prospects and to get detailed analytics about the success of your campaign, but there are some differences between advertising on the two sites, and so your approach to each should be unique.

Facebook’s ethos is all about creating community, so when someone searches for a business there, the first thing they see is how their friends are interacting with the brand. Once they head to the business’s page, they’re encouraged to invite their friends to “like” the page. The advertising is visually-driven, allowing you to paint a picture (literally) of what your business can do. The endorsements of friends and other Facebook users and the image-rich pages all allow you to present your business as one that’s trustworthy—you’ve earned the kudos of real people and you’re not afraid to share pictures and videos that show who your company really is.

Google’s paid search takes a different approach that’s more about immediacy. With a paid search ad, your company appears in line with results to a particular query. That means that if you’re a florist in San Diego, and someone is in desperate need of flowers in that geographical area, you can ensure you’re the first name they see when they type “florist near me” into their Google search. This allows you to become the immediate solution to their pressing issue. Google’s platform also incorporates ratings and reviews into some of its advertising (specifically as a part of Local Services Ads) and those with the highest ratings are often bumped up to the top of the results list. This means that reviews and trustworthiness are still a key component of the game on Google.

Two Advertising Tactics are Better Than One

While each platform has their own unique strengths, there is even more value in using the two together. Facebook cites a case study from the digital marketing technology firm Kenshoo, to illustrate this point. Kenshoo looked at Experian’s paid search approach and found that using Facebook and Google ads together helped to improve the overall effectiveness of their campaign.

Because users often turn to Facebook first and go there for personal recommendations from friends and other users, having advertising present on Facebook is a valuable first step to gaining a prospect’s attention. As I’ve noted before, 90 percent of consumers say they trust a recommendation from a friend or family member, and 70 percent say they trust a personal recommendation from any fellow consumer (even a stranger online).

In their case study, Kenshoo noted that when Experian advertised on both Facebook and Google, they saw a 19 percent increase in total conversions, while spending 10 percent less overall per acquisition. Using both platforms together allows you to get in front of prospects across multiple channels, build trust, and make the conversion.

Pay Attention to the Analytics and Pivot Accordingly

Both Google and Facebook ads provide you with a lot of information about how your ads are performing.

Do you have an ad that’s reaching the right people but isn’t resulting in leads or conversions? If you’ve put together an expensive television ad or print campaign that isn’t generating results, you’ve already spent the money and can’t take it all back.

Fortunately, with online advertising you’re able to quickly scrap ideas that aren’t successful and test out new approaches. And if you make tweaks to your advertising one step at a time, applying the principle of A/B testing, you’re able to see what change you’ve made that’s generating the most positive results from your audience. From there, you can hone in on that approach and expand it to other marketing and advertising efforts.

Facebook and Google ads are really great for small businesses because they’re a low risk and potentially high reward way to reach new customers. Both platforms make it easy to find those who are most likely to want to interact with your brand, which makes lead generation and conversion an easier task. And if you’re willing to go the extra mile and sort through the analytics that come back from your campaigns, you can use that information to further refine your approach in the future, thereby creating more and more effective advertising campaigns each time.

The Central Role of Advertising In The Customer Journey?

The Central Role of Advertising In The Customer Journey? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you think of advertising, your first association might be with attracting new customers. Ads are supposed to reach out to audiences unknown, introduce them to your brand, and bring them on board.

But in reality, advertising can be used effectively throughout the customer journey. It’s not only a tool to reach prospective clients; it can also keep those you’ve already converted around for many years to come.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about the marketing hourglass, and while you’re undertaking that approach to marketing on the whole, you can incorporate advertising into each of the seven key steps along the hourglass.

Advertising to the Know and Like Crowd

Before someone ever becomes a customer, they will first need to come into contact with your brand and decide that you’re offering a product or service that’s unique and that will serve their specific needs in a way that no one else can.

If you’re looking to reach prospects, you want to target people who are similar to your current customers. It stands to reason that those who will have similar needs and wants to your current clients probably also have other similar attributes (age, location, budget, etc.).

Online advertising tools have become increasingly advanced and allow you to direct your ad spend only at those who are most likely to want to know and like your brand. Facebook offers a service called lookalike audiences, where business owners are able to upload the contact list of their current customers, and Facebook in turn identifies people with similar attributes for you to target with your ads. Google Ads offers business owners the ability to target users by geographical location and by those who are searching for specific keywords.

The key to advertising to prospects is knowing and understanding your current clients. The more data you have on them and their habits, the more likely you are to be able to hone in on a similar audience who would be more than happy to stumble across your business.

Advertising to the Trust and Try Crowd

Once someone becomes aware of your company, they move a bit further along the marketing hourglass to the trust and try stages. Here, you’ll want your advertising efforts to help users build confidence in what your brand can do, and to give them an opportunity to take what you’re offering out for a spin.

A key part of a prospect developing trust in your business is seeing you around consistently. The mere exposure effect in psychology says that people are more likely to trust someone or something that they see over and over again. Advertising across various channels (both on- and offline) will help to keep your brand front and center in prospects’ minds.

This also means that part of your advertising strategy is just about hanging in there. If you don’t see results right away from your advertising spend, don’t throw in the towel. Sure, it’s fine to tweak your approach, but scrapping the entire thing will take your business off the radar screen of those who might have been interested in giving your product or service a try if it had only popped up on their screen one or two more times.

Once prospects have seen you around and you’ve piqued their interest, they might want to take your product or service out for a test drive before committing and converting. Providing offers for free, advanced content like an eBook or access to a webinar, or giving prospects a free trial option can be the final step before converting. While I’d suggest that you take a more personalized approach to your interactions with prospects, it’s also possible to include offers in more general advertising. Just be sure that when you’re targeting specific people with personalized messaging, you’re offering something that isn’t generally available to anyone coming across your advertising.

Advertising to the Buy, Repeat and Refer Crowd

Congratulations! Your earlier advertising efforts were successful, and you’ve now gained your newest customer. But your work is far from over—now your focus needs to be on keeping the customer experience high.

Once someone has converted, your contact with them can be much more specific and personalized through other marketing channels, but it’s still possible to use advertising to keep current clients happy, have them coming back for more, and (most importantly) telling all their friends about you.

One of the most important things for creating repeat business is staying on-brand in your advertising. You’ve worked so hard to get in front of these customers and to win their trust, so you want to continue to hammer home your mission statement and keep your messaging and voice consistent so that your customers feel like they really know and understand your company. This helps to reinforce your trustworthiness, and will make those customers all the more likely to come back themselves and to become a referral engine.

You can also use these loyal customers as a part of your advertising efforts. Including testimonials from those who are already brand-loyal in your advertising campaigns can help to win over those who are still in the trust phase of the hourglass. Indeed, 70 percent of people say that they’re influenced by other consumers’ opinions shared online.

Advertising can be a powerful way to reach your customers and prospects alike. Advertising can be seen by and have an influence on people no matter where they are in marketing hourglass. Identifying the proper audience for your advertising efforts, creating a consistent message that builds trust, and staying top of mind with both prospects and current clients will ensure that you get the most out of your advertising dollars.

How to Use Advertising as a Lead Generation Tool

How to Use Advertising as a Lead Generation Tool written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing is a broad term that encompasses a number of channels and approaches. Advertising is just one of them, and in our increasingly digital age, it can sometimes feel like a tactic of the past. However, when advertising is used properly, it can become an effective lead generation tool.

Below we’ll take a look at both online and offline advertising and explore the best ways to harness each approach to generate leads.

Online Ads

Online ads are a highly effective way to generate leads because you’re able to collect and access so much information about your customers when they interact with you online. And the major players in the online game are making it easier than ever for you to create online ads that are highly targeted.

Facebook and Google are the two major players in the space, and they offer small business owners all sorts of opportunities to better understand their current users, find new potential clients, and generate leads and conversions. They do this by providing highly-granular analytics on all of their users and by allowing you the opportunity to customize your advertising approach and target market.

There are a few critical steps any business owner should take before starting an online marketing campaign to ensure they’re going to get the most out of their approach.

Know Who Your Customers Are

You can’t possibly know who you should be targeting without knowing the demographics of your current client base. How old are they? Where are they located? What’s their income level? This is the kind of demographic information you should be collecting on your current clients. You can also get information on prospects with tools like Facebook Pixel, which allows you to track visitors’ behavior on your own website so that you can send them targeted ads on Facebook later.

Go After Your Audience

Once you understand more about the people who already use your service or have expressed interest in your website, you’ll want to go after those specific people with online ads. Facebook and Google also make it easy to target people who might not have encountered your business yet, but are similar to those who already interact with your business. Facebook’s lookalike audiences allow you to present your ads to those who have attributes that are similar to people already on your mailing list. And Google Ads allows you to advertise by location, while tools like Google Local Service Ads put you in front of potential leads right as they’re looking for the service you offer.

Track Your Results

Google and Facebook both offer robust analytics on how many people are seeing your ads, whether they’re then visiting your website, and if that is resulting in a conversion. You should be keeping regular tabs on these analytics so that you can easily catch and solve an issue, or jump on a successful approach and amplify that across other channels.

Testing Makes Perfect

Based on what you’re seeing from the analytics, you can go in and make strategic changes to your approach. A/B testing is regularly used in website design, but the principles can be applied to advertising as well. If a campaign isn’t succeeding, make a change. This might be a change to the content, the delivery method, or the demographics of those you’re targeting, but whatever changes you implement, make them one at a time so you’re able to see how each change moves the needle on the campaign. If you hit on a successful tactic that results in leads, apply that across your other channels. The beauty of online advertising is that if something isn’t working, it’s possible to change it quickly, easily, and without great cost.

Offline Ads

While there is great value in creating effective online advertising campaigns, a robust advertising approach will also incorporate offline ads. And while you may not have the specific analytics to see precisely how your offline ads are performing, there’s still immense value in investing in print, television, radio, and direct mail.

With offline advertising, there’s usually more upfront cost involved, and once a print ad or radio spot is out there, you can’t make modifications. All of this means that there’s value in taking more time up front to be strategic about your approach–you really can’t skip the research step here.

However, many of the same basic principles from online advertising should also be put into use offline.

Identify Your Medium

Different types of customers will interact with different kinds of offline media. That same demographic information you needed to establish a successful online campaign can help you to determine the type of offline campaign that will afford you the greatest reach with the types of customers you hope to find. If you run an auto repair shop, it might make more sense for you to create radio spots, as people tend to listen to the radio while they’re driving. If your target customers are millennial men, consider running your ad during the college football game on your local sports network. Understanding your customers allows you to hone in on a broader audience that will likely have a similar interest in your product or service.

Think Outside the Box

It’s more difficult now to approach offline advertising because a lot of people are conditioned to ignore it or have the means to avoid it entirely (DVRs and streaming services, for example, allow you to skip commercials entirely). This means you’ll need to get creative with your approach. Forget the 30 second radio spot; have you ever thought about texting as advertising? There are lots of possibilities out there, if you’re willing to think beyond the traditional. Hiring an advertising professional is a worthwhile investment because they understand the landscape, the latest trends, and can create a campaign that really stands out.

Create Your Own Analytics

It is possible to get a broad sense of how your offline advertising is being received. While it’s not the same as the incredible detail you can get from online analytics, you can get useful information about how your campaigns are playing offline. If you’re launching a new print or direct mail campaign and include an offer, provide a unique code that allows you to track how new leads who approach you came across your business. There’s also value in creating a brief survey for those who sign up for more information on your website. Simply asking “how did you find out about us?” and listing your individual offline advertising efforts below can provide you with insight into where leads are coming from. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to focus your efforts more on the medium that’s working best, and over time can gain insight into the campaigns and approaches that prove most fruitful.

No matter what advertising approach you choose to take, understanding the results of your advertising efforts is what’s going to lead you to create more effective campaigns in the future that will generate more and more leads. Taking the time to know your audience up front and gather more information as the campaign unfolds will empower you to make the most out of your advertising approach.

A Small Business Guide to Paid Content

A Small Business Guide to Paid Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’re a small business out in the world today, it can feel like your competition is everywhere. The ubiquity of the internet means that anyone, anywhere, can turn to any provider to get the goods or services they need. In an environment like that, what can you possibly do to stand out from the crowd?

In the past, advertising was the cornerstone of any plan to get your company’s name out there and to attract new business. However, with giants like Google now committing to filtering ads, and with customers being turned off by loud pop-up videos and irritating banners blocking a site’s content, focusing exclusively on advertising is becoming a less sustainable marketing model for businesses.

So what’s the alternative? Here we’ll take a look at paid content: what it is and what it can bring to your business.

Why Turn to Paid Content?

Content marketing is essentially a way for you to create deep connections with customers, establish yourself as an industry expert, and thereby drive sales. This content can be anything from blog posts to podcasts to e-newsletters.

Whatever form the content takes, it’s critical that it’s high-quality, informative, and results-driven content that really solves a problem your potential clients have. If you prove through your content that you understand their needs and that you have a means to meet them, you can become their go-to source for whatever good or service you provide.

The challenge, then, becomes getting that content in front of the right people. You know that old adage “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same goes for content creation. You can be turning out some really impressive work, but if no one’s seeing the content you’re creating, it’s not doing anything for you.

Leveraging Distribution Platforms

Getting your content out there to a broader audience is exactly why some companies turn to distribution platforms. These platforms allow you to set a budget and timescale, and from there they work to put your content in front of a targeted audience that will find it the most interesting and useful. We’ve discussed this approach in the past, and while there are a lot of platforms for you to choose from, some of the most popular are covered here.

Content Distribution PlatformDistribution platforms will provide you with analytics, so you’re able to see which content is getting the most traction and can tailor your approach as you learn more about your audience. The greatest downside to these types of platforms is that the content still lives on the margins of web pages. Often located below the site’s content, they look like paid content, which may turn some potential readers off.

Sponsored Content on Trusted Publications

If you’re concerned about the look of content on a distribution platform, you may want to consider sponsored content instead.

While perusing your favorite online magazine or newspaper, it’s likely that you’ve come across a story that’s sponsored by a brand. Perhaps it’s a mattress store that’s written an article about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Or an athletic goods company that’s published a piece about how the proper running shoe can help marathoners beat their personal records.

These types of posts are imbedded in a publication and are designed to mirror the look, feel, and tone of other articles, but in reality, they’ve been paid for by marketers. This kind of paid content is beneficial in a few unique ways. First, it allows you to target the readers of whichever publication best aligns with the target audience for your good or service. It also provides an air of legitimacy for your advertising; if the reader trusts the publication, they’re likely to also trust your content that they find on its pages.

Facebook Posts and Google Searches

Similar in concept to the sponsored content approach, you may also consider placing sponsored posts on Facebook or paying for Google search ads. This is another form of native advertising, which again allows your content to blend in with its surroundings.

Google Search Ad

If someone happens upon a Facebook ad as they’re scrolling through their newsfeed, or sees a search result at the top of their Google results, they’re less likely to be put off in the same way they might be with a more obvious marketing tactic. Since these ads are intended to look like a part of the larger platform, readers don’t feel they’re being “sold” a product or service.

The New Approach to Influencer Marketing

When you think of influencer marketing, it’s possible that your mind jumps immediately to the Kardashians or another celebrity with a massive social media following. But the trend in influencer marketing is changing, and many marketers are now moving away from the celebrity endorsement.

In fact, in a recent study by Collective Bias, 70 percent of millennials said they’re more likely to buy a product that’s been endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger, rather than a celebrity. This is good news for smaller businesses, who can’t afford the seven-figure endorsement price tag that Kylie Jenner commands.

If you’re a small business, think smaller scale. Target influencers who are important to those in your desired network, and reach out to them. If you have a compelling pitch and are willing to send them a free sample of your product, they just may cover your business on their blog or give you a shout-out on their social media platforms.

There are a lot of small businesses out there, creating content and competing for the attention of potential customers. While this can make the world of content creation feel overwhelming, if you focus on creating quality content that really helps your target audience, and find ways to get this content in front of an ever-broadening audience, you can make the content creation approach work in your favor to drive revenues and expand your business.