Guide to Marketing Automation for Small Business

A Guide To Marketing Automation for Small Business

Do you ever wish you could know, besides a “gut feeling”, that your marketing efforts are working? Are you failing to connect the dots between your marketing campaigns and company revenue? You're not alone. 

Trying to track revenue all the way back to the lead source is very difficult, even for businesses that pay close attention to their analytics. Somewhere along the way you lose the connection from lead source to sale. This may be because the final sale happens offline or the difficulty in tracking anonymous website visitors (like Google Analytics) and connecting them to a specific sale.Marketing Automation is a software solution that allows you to identify your website visitors and track them throughout their buying journey, from click to sale. It allows you to deliver valuable information to a prospect at the exact time they are looking for it.Here will discuss what Marketing Automation is and how it can benefit your business.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation is one of those terms that most business people recognize but are not sure what it really means or how it works. Kind of like SEO.Marketing automation is software that allows businesses to create lead generating and lead nurturing campaigns using an end to end software system with email marketing being the backbone of the system. It's the exact opposite of regular email marketing, where you send newsletters and emails out to your entire list. It allows you to create specific and timely communications with your prospects on an individual level.Marketing Automation is great for products/services where there is an extended salescycle as well as more complex sales, where people need more information before making a decision. Think of financial services, home renovation projects, legal services, etc as examples where it is not an easy buying decision. IT also works very well with e-commerce and where you need to manage and nurture a large number of leads.In order to understand the customer journey from click to sale, businesses will “bolt together” multiple software systems to try and track this journey. Typical setups will look like:

  • Website Analytics software
  • Email Marketing software with drip campaign features
  • Conversion Optimization software (A/B testing)
  • Sales Tracking software
  • CRM software

All of this software is stitched together to create lead nurturing programs and to track the journey of a customer from the time they click to your site to the time they become a paying customer. The only problem is that most of this software will not communicate with each other and leaves you, the business owner, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to make sense of it all.Here is an intro video from our Marketing Automation partner, SharpSpring.Marketing Automation is a single solution that you can use to generate leads, run lead nurturing programs, and track the journey of a customer from the moment they first land on your website to the moment they become a paying customer. It's very hard to get that kind of closed loop reporting using several different software solutions.Marketing Automation is predicated on communicating with your leads and customers, so in order to get the most out of Marketing Automation, you will need to be able to create content that you can share via your communications with your leads.

Sharpspring_Marketing_Automation_Features

Common Features of Marketing Automation Software

Why would you use Marketing Automation?

(there is an example of how Marketing Automation can be used further down in the article)4 main reasons

  • Generate more leads
  • Convert them to revenue
  • Prove marketing ROI
  • Single software solution

Generate more leads – Lead capture forms setup on landing pages will allow you to turn anonymous web visitors into real live people you can track throughout the sales funnel. Lead generation campaigns can be created that will track visitors all the way from click to sale. Some Marketing Automation solutions will use IP tracking, crossed with business databases, to identify anonymous web visitors and determine what company that web visitor is from.Convert them to revenue – By identifying and tracking a lead during their buying journey, you will know what product/services each lead is interested in, how active they are on your website, and when to pass hot leads off to your sales team. Marketing Automation allows you to reach out to them when they are most likely to buy and with the right message.Prove marketing ROI – Marketing Automation allows you to track the entire sales process from end to end, showing you which marketing campaigns are working and which ones are not.Single software solution – Instead of stitching together several software solutions to try and track your marketing campaigns, Marketing Automation allows you to seamlessly track your lead generation efforts and see the ROI from each of your campaigns in real time.Marketing Automation Sales Funnel Graphic

The Benefits of Using Marketing Automation

Make smarter marketing decisions – You can track the ROI of each marketing campaign you run, which will allow you to make smarter marketing decisions in the future.Save time and manpower – Marketing Automation allows you to run extended lead nurturing campaigns, perform customer follow-ups, and monitor your contact list's website activity to alert your sales team of clear buying signals. This saves you dozens of hours each month on lead nurturing activities, saving your involvement to critical times when your lead is indicating they are ready to buy.Work all parts of your sales funnel – Most businesses only focus on the bottom of the sales funnel, people ready to buy right now. The problem is that by focusing only on this part of the funnel, you are ignoring the other 80-90% of people are are interested, but just not ready to buy yet. Marketing Automation will allow you to create lead nurturing campaigns to target people not ready to buy (middle and top of funnel) and keep them engaged with your business until they are ready to move forward.Supercharge your CRM – Integrating Marketing Automation with your CRM allows you to see how your marketing efforts (Marketing Automation) are translating into sales (CRM). Your marketing and sales software can merge data, allowing you to see full ROI from click to sale and pull comprehensive marketing/sales reports for your business.

Advanced Reporting With Marketing Automation

Advanced Reporting With Marketing Automation

Here's an example of how Marketing Automation works

You decide to run a Facebook Ad campaign to generate new leads for your mortgage broker business. You decide you will offer people a free guide, “10 Things You Need To Do First Before Applying For a Mortgage”. The idea is to get people into a lead nurturing program first as most people will respond better to valuable information they need rather than your sales pitch to apply for a mortgage. While some people may be ready to buy right away, most will need more information and will need some time to make their decision.You set up the Facebook Ad campaign in your Marketing Automation software and use a special trackable link that will let the software track people that click that link in your Facebook Ad.You set up a special landing page for your offer and use a special contact form that will allow the Marketing Automation software to pull the lead data into its system.Jane Doe, who is looking for a mortgage, fills out the form to get her free guide as she wants to make sure she is not missing anything before she makes a mortgage decision. She is now entered into your lead nurturing campaign where she will receive your free guide as well as a series of 5 emails over 30 days where you offer information she would deem valuable as she decides on a mortgage provider.The software was even able to find her LinkedIn and Facebook social media profiles, giving you a wealth of information about this lead. During this time, Jane Doe gets to know more about your company and more importantly, starts to trust you.3 weeks after Jane Doe filled out the initial lead gen form, the marketing automation detects she comes back to your website (via email #3 of the 5 email sequence she was on) and reads two articles on your blog related to first-time homebuyers. You have a trigger for this setup in your Marketing Automation system that will place a person on your first-time homebuyers email list if they read 2 or more articles in this category. Once on this list, Jane Doe receives an email with an ebook explaining the mortgage process for first-time homebuyers. She downloads the ebook and takes you up on your call to action at the end of the ebook to contact you to learn more about the programs you offer.After a few back and forth phone conversations, Jane Doe is ready to move forward as your customer.6 weeks later the mortgage application is approved and is funded. Closed deal!So how did Marketing Automation help?

  • You were able to track Jane Doe from the time she clicked on your Facebook Ad until the time the deal was closed, giving you proven ROI for your marketing efforts
  • You were able to track Jane's activity on your website as well as what she did with the emails you sent her, allowing you to send timely and personalized messages to her.
  • You knew it was email #3 that peaked her interest and brought her back to the website
  • You were able to take a lead, who was not ready to buy, and create a fully automated lead nurturing campaign lasting 30 days that eventually turned into a customer
  • The Marketing Automation software did the heavy lifting with automated lead nurturing communications, allowing you to get involved only when Jane was ready to buy
  • During the entire lead nurturing process, you were able to track a real person (name and all), instead of an anonymous user. The Marketing Automation was even able to pull in Jane's social media profiles so you could learn more about her
  • You can now track the commission you earned back to the original Facebook Ad that Jane Doe first clicked on. You can high five yourself knowing the $100 you spent on Facebooks Ads resulted in several thousand dollars in commissions.
Email Marketing Using Marketing Automation

Advanced Email Marketing with Marketing Automation

Common myths about Marketing Automation

#1 Marketing Automation is too expensive for a small businessWhile some Marketing Automation solutions can cost several thousand dollars a month to run, there are now dozens of solutions available, many catering to the small business market. Typical starting costs usually range anywhere from $200-$3,000 a month, depending on the solution you choose. Most Marketing Automation companies charge a base fee each month and then costs scale depending on the number of contacts you have in your database, volume of email you send out each month or the feature set you are looking for.There is usually some sort of onboarding fee as well to cover training and client support for the first several weeks as there is a learning curve involved to use it and initial support and training will be intensive. Fees typically range anywhere from $500-$2500, depending on the solution you choose.

68% of top-performing small businesses are using marketing automation – Gleanster Research

Small business solutions will tend to be on the lower end in terms of cost. If you choose a solution that will cost $500-$1,000 a month, you will need to determine the incremental increase in sales you will need to cover the cost of the solution. If you sell a product/service with a higher price tag, then you may only need a single sale each month to cover the cost of Marketing Automation software.#2 Implementing Marketing Automation will require more staffingWhile the startup period with a new Marketing Automation solution will require quite a bit of time and learning, once you are passed that startup period it should relieve your workload, not increase it.

90% of top-performing small businesses that use marketing automation report they did not increase headcount after investing in marketing automation. – Gleanster Research

Marketing Automation should help streamline your current lead nurturing and sales processes, which will give your current team valuable time savings.#3 Marketing Automation is too time-consumingYes, it is time-consuming, especially in the beginning. But once you have passed the learning curve on how to use it, the time-saving opportunities are endless. Database management, follow up emails, email list segmentation, lead nurturing, these are all things that can take up a lot of your time every month and can automated with Marketing Automation software.Most small businesses that use Marketing Automation start with a few small lead generation/nurturing campaigns that don't require much time but can lead to significant increases in lead generation. The nice thing with Marketing Automation is that you can scale it out over time based on your available resources.#4 Marketing Automation isn't useful for small businessIf you do marketing to generate leads for your business and you have customers, then yes, Marketing Automation can be very useful for your business. Marketing Automation can help you streamline your marketing/sales processes and help you prove ROI, any sized business can benefit from that. The question comes down to commitment to investing in a process like this and the pros and cons of implementing it for your business.

Tips when searching for a Marketing Automation solution

There are many options available when it comes to choosing a Marketing Automation solution. You'll have to do some research, read reviews and even demo a few in order to decide which solution is best for your business. Here are a few common questions to ask when conducting your research.Costs – How do they price? Don't just look at the base monthly cost, most Marketing Automation solutions scale their pricing according your contact list size and/or the volume of the emails you send out. Some base it on the number of visitors you get to your site each month. See how each solution charges and use your current (and future) list size as well as email volume to determine your costs. Some solutions are inexpensive to start but can get very expensive as your database grows.Ease of Use – Look at user reviews to see how easy it is to use the software. One of the biggest complaints, and reasons people stop using it, is that it is very confusing to use. This is why doing a demo with several solutions will give you an idea of how easy or difficult it will be to use.Features – Some Marketing Automation solutions provide every feature under the sun, while others give just the basics. Figure out what your needs and goals will be with the software and choose a solution that offers the features you need for your business.Support – This is a big one as you will need to contact support from time to time to ask questions and to get support help. Look at user reviews as well as satisfaction surveys to see how well a company supports its customers. If you get stuck or something breaks, you want to make sure you won't have to spend an entire afternoon on hold to get a question answered. Is Marketing Automation right for you?Marketing Automation has the ability to transform a business and its marketing strategy. It can proveROI and helps you make better overall marketing decisions. It can also be frustrating to use if you don't commit to it and take the time to learn how to use it effectively.Take your time, read lots of reviews and see what current customers are saying about their Marketing Automation solution. Have a question about Marketing Automation and how it benefit your business? Contact me here to learn more.

How To Do BtoB Marketing The Right Way

How To Do B2B Online Marketing The Right Way

 

BtoB online marketing is much different than BtoC marketing.  While online marketing today allows you to reach a broad (but still targeted) audience at a cost effective price, BtoB marketing still takes targeted prospecting in order to reach your ideal audience.  While most online ad platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook advertising offer a wide range of targeting options, they still don't offer the account/company specific targeting that most effective BtoB marketing campaigns need.

While most online ad platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook advertising offer a wide range of targeting options, they still don't offer the account/company specific targeting that most effective BtoB marketing campaigns need.

In order to be really successful at BtoB online marketing, you can't just rely on your usual online marketing strategies, which are mostly consumer focused.

 

Why not?  Here are a few reasons:

Search Engine Optimization is predicated on a user proactively performing a search query for your product or service in order for your website to show up in the search engine results.  Many (if not most) companies and decision makers are not actively scouring the internet looking for solutions to their problems.

Most online advertising platforms use demographic and behavioral information when it comes to targeting options for your ads.  The key thing here is that the targeting is aimed at individual users, not companies.  And even with highly targeting lists, with the exception of LinkedIn Ads, you still have no idea what company someone works for.

 

So what do you do?

When it comes to BtoB online marketing, you have to be proactive and methodical in your marketing.  Fortunately, online advertising today offers a bunch of options when it comes creating highly targeted marketing campaigns.  But you still have to do some legwork, which we will talk about below.

The key to online BtoB marketing is to know exactly who your prospects are and to build highly targeted online advertising campaigns to turn cold leads into warm ones.  A successful campaign should build awareness, interest, and soften up your prospects so your sales team can go in a step ahead of your competition.

Just 34% of B2B organizations say they touch leads with lead nurturing on a monthly basis. (B2B Marketing Insider)

Enterprise level organizations and sales teams may call this Account Based Marketing, where you market on a one on one level.  This method offers some additional online targeting methods to soften those cold leads up before the sales team moves in.

Below are the steps you can take to build a highly effective online marketing campaign that will make your sales team love you.

1 – Understand who your ideal customer is

If you don't have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is, then none of this will work as you will be running highly targeted marketing campaigns at a vague audience.

Before you start you should know what industry you want to target, company size, demographics and any other criteria you will use to narrow down who your ideal customer would be.

Examining the profiles of your best accounts, feedback surveys and market analysis, are all things you should be doing before you ever start an online marketing campaign.

Know who you want to target.

 

2 – Build targeted prospect lists

Now that you know the exact type of client you want, you can start building your prospect list.  Maybe your sales team already have a few lists they have built, if not, start a new one. This is the area where BtoB and BtoC marketing diverge.  With BtoC marketing, you can rely mostly on ad platform targeting tools to build your list, with BtoB marketing, you will be building mostly by hand.

There are several tools you can use to help with your list building (see below), but it is largely a manual process as you will need to pick through companies trying to find the ones that match your criteria.

The size of the list really depends on your industry, your goals and the resources you have in place.  I think a 50 or 100 company list is a good place to start as it will force you to build a highly targeted list.  If you have the resources though, feel free to big larger lists,  but make sure you have enough resources on hand for the follow-up stage of this process.

When you are building your list, you may find multiple people's information for a single company, I like to add anyone who may be relevant as you never know who the influencers are in a company and I'd rather warm up several people with targeted advertising than just one.

 

Here are some prospect building tools you can use that will do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Zoominfo – They have a highly trusted database and their List Builder product is great for building highly targeted email lists.

Data.com –  Formerly JigSaw, now owned by Salesforce, this product delivers highly accurate business data and makes targeted prospecting a breeze.  Great option if you already use Salesforce as it has tight integration with its CRM and is cheaper for its CRM users.

Aeroleads – They have a Chrome extension you can use to build targeted email and phone lists and you search the LinkedIn, Google, CrunchBase, just to name a few.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the best social platform for BtoB prospecting and their Sales Navigator tool is tops when it comes to mining the treasure trove of data inside LinkedIn for advanced list building.  Sales Navigator will make list building a breeze.

 

3 – Soften your list up with targeted advertising

Now that you have a highly targeted prospect list, you will then create an online advertising campaign to get in front of your list so you can start building awareness and interest for you company.

While sales teams do steps 1 and 2 as part of their prospecting, it is this step where we part ways with sales, at least for the time being.  Normally, with list in hand, the sales team would start their outreach, either by email, phone or in person.  What we will do  is soften the list up first with targeted advertising before we get to the outreach stage.  It's like in the military where you call in air support before you begin your land invasion, you want to soften your target up before you move in.

83% of B2B marketers use content marketing for lead generation. ~ Content Marketing Institute

This advertising campaign will run for a few weeks, giving your prospects time to see your messages.  Some may take action on your ads, turning your previously cold lead into a very warm one for your sales team.

Best practice for an ad campaign?  Offer something useful that your prospective client may be interested in.  One that I find that works well is a case study that solves a problem the prospects on your list might have.  White papers, ebooks, etc all work as well, just remember the more specific you can tailor it to your list, the more likely they will be interested and engage with you.

BtoB Online Marketing Statistics - Social Platforms 2016

So where do we advertise?

Facebook Custom Audiences – With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can upload your prospect list and Facebook will match your information (email, phone #, etc) against their database and identify Facebook users on your list.  From my experience, match rates can range from 30-80%, depending on the type of list you have.   Once your list is created, you can then start creating ads.

 

Here is a good article on Facebook advertising to give you some ideas on incredible targeting options they offer, even for BtoB companies.

Facebook Remarketing – If you're not running Facebook Remarketing, I would set it up.  Once you begin the next stage of doing outreach, it will allow you to market to people (if they visit your website to learn more about you) who you were not able to target initially with your advertising campaign.

*Read more about remarketing here.

LinkedIn Ads – You cannot import your own email lists into LinkedIn for the purpose of advertising (you can add that list to your contacts and then import to your LinkedIn account and then connect with them personally) and you will need an audience size of at least 1,000 people in order to run an ad campaign.  The good thing is that you can target by company name, so you should have no problem getting most of your list into an ad campaign.  You will most likely have to expand your audience a bit to reach your 1,000 minimum, but I'm sure you can add additional criteria and still have a very targeted audience to advertise to.

Twitter Tailored Audiences – Twitter Tailored Audiences allows you to upload an email list to build a targeted ad campaign on Twitter.  You can also use a list of Twitter handles to target.  While email matches have been found to be quite low, around 10-25% match rate from what I've seen, you can still reach part of your list using Twitter Ads.

 

Google Display Network – I was originally going to include Google Customer Match as an option until I read they expressly state you can only use data that has been acquired firsthand  such as previous customers, newsletter signups, etc.  While it's still possible to do, it's against their ToS.  While you can't use your prospect list, you can still do some targeted advertising with the Google Display Network.  While this is a broader approach than the rest of the options above, I still like it as an alternative.

Only 20% of CMOs leverage social networks to engage with customers. ~IBM Survey

Using the Google Display Network, you can geo-target by exact physical address, with a minimum of 1Kilometer radius around that address.  So if you have a prospect's company address, you can run a campaign targeting their location and further refine by demographics, behaviors and interests in order to limit who will see your ads.  The nice thing with this method is that you can potentially target everyone at the company with banner ads, video or text based ads.

 

Use all of the above in combination for best results

The idea of the ad campaigns is to generate awareness and interest in your company, softening them up for the next stage, which is outreach.  You want to bring them back to your website where they can engage with your content and learn more about your business.  You can decide if you want to gate content behind a contact form or not, but remember you already have their information and will be reaching out to thems

You can decide if you want to gate content behind a contact form or not, but remember you already have their information and will be reaching out to them shortly, so not really a need to gate anything. When you might want to gate the content is when you are using marketing automation software and want to see the exact people who are coming back to the site with the list you are targeting.  This is very powerful information as you now know the hot ones on your list to target first.  It went from you targeting them to them coming to you and asking for help, sweet!

While you most likely won't reach everyone on your list, if you use all of the above methods, you should be able to get in front of most of the people on your list at least a few times before outreach begins.

4 – Start your outreach

Now that you have softened them up, start your outreach.  Email or phone, however you do it.  Hopefully, they will have some awareness of you and they are no longer 100% cold.  Same thing as your content, don't go right into your sales pitch, offer something valuable to them first like a step by step how you solved a problem that they most likely have.

Give them value to chew on and then follow up again.  Now you have softened them up twice before you got to your sales pitch and have hopefully generated enough interest to get a meeting and their valuable time to work your magic.

I like to include links in my emails that bring readers back to the website to read relevant content. Why?  Once they visit the website, besides consuming the content that they are interested in, they are now on a remarketing list so we can further market to them via Google Adwords, Facebook or even Twitter via their remarketing ad options.

 

Now work your sales funnel

So once the above steps are completed, you can follow whatever sales funnel strategy you already have in place to turn these prospects into clients.

Does this take time?  Yes.  Does it work better than just cold calling a prospect list you purchased?  Yes!.  Most companies will never have the time or discipline to do something like this, it's much to easier to just buy lists and Robo-call the hell out of people, hoping to grab that o.0001% of people who might have a slight interest in this sort of backward BtoB selling.

I told you BtoB marketing (quality BtoB marketing) is much different than your traditional BtoC online marketing strategies.  The problem is that most businesses try to apply BtoC marketing strategies to their BtoB marketing and get lackluster results.

How Lawyers can Generate Leads Online

5 Effective Ways Lawyers Can Generate Leads Online

 

Legal services is a very competitive space.  Just drive down a highway or search for a lawyer online and you will see how much money is being spent to acquire new clients.

The big question is, do you need to spend big bucks and run mass advertising campaigns in order to acquire clients?  Maybe 10-15 years ago that was the case, but with the advances in online marketing, you can target your ideal customers with laser precision as well as track metrics to prove ROI.

96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013)

It's easy to get lost in a sea of competitors.  When potential customers search for legal counsel they get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of lawyers available, mostly using the same marketing messages to attract them.  That's why directory listings and similar listing types are not effective as  all law firms are bunched together and everyone looks the same.

A much better method is to go out and target your ideal customer so you can create custom messages and reach them at a time where you are the only lawyer speaking to them.  While people have little attention span, it allows you a few moments to get your message to them without the distractions of a hundred other law firms drowning out your message.

Below are 5 specific things you can do online to target your ideal client.

Life Events via Facebook Ads

There are so many ways to target Facebook users for advertising purposes, it's scary.  I wrote a post outlining some of the most popular ways. You can read it here.  Depending on what type of law you practice, a great opportunity to target Facebook users is to run ads based on Life Events.  Life Events allows you to target Facebook users by various life events such as births, relationship changes, moving and retirements. These are just a few examples of ways you can use Life Events to target users at a particular moment in their life.  Scary that Facebook knows this and lets you advertise using this method?  Yes.

Facebooks Ads Life Events Image

Life Events allows you to target Facebook users by various life events such as changes in relationship status (divorce lawyers), new births and retirements(Estate planning lawyers), just to name a few possibilities.  When you also use other types of Facebook targeting such as demographic and location targeting to really fine tune your audience which will allow you to create laser targeted messaging.   There are several other ways that lawyers can create targeted ad campaigns in Facebook, but Life Events stands out as an easy win.

Google Adwords and Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing is when you continue to serve advertisements to people visited your website after they have left and are surfing the internet.  Google Adwords and Facebook have two of the best remarketing platforms available and allow you to cover a large part of the internet for remarketing purposes.

Facebook Remarketing Infographic

Why would you want to run a remarketing campaign?  If someone is shopping around for a lawyer, they may visit several websites, probably forgetting details about any single website.  Remarketing allows you to stay front in center in their minds as they continue shopping around and allows you the ability to establish your brand and draw them back to your website with targeted messaging.

Google Adwords Call Only Campaign

Google launched this product in 2015 and it has been very successful for my clients that use it, especially service based businesses.  While Google mobile ads always allowed you to include a clickable phone number in its ads, Call Only ads removes the website entirely and goes straight to a phone call.  The costs per click are higher than regular ads but every click is essentially a conversion.

Google Adwords Call Only Campaign Image

For example, if someone gets arrested for DUI, if they search on their phone for a lawyer, you can show them an ad to call you immediately for assistance.  No time wasted visiting a website, straight to a phone call.  The best part is that Google Adwords currently limits 2 ads per mobile results page and places them at the top so ads so they take up most of the phone's screen real estate.  They are also listed above organic search results, making them very valuable.

74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

 

Banner Ads via Google Display Network

Lawyers love billboards. When we drive through Florida on our way to St.Petersburg, we like to count the number of billboards for lawyers along the way. There are a lot of them, many of them humorous, whether they meant to be or not. We also get a chuckle driving through Buffalo on our way to Toronto, I'm looking at you Cellino and Barnes : )

Google Display Network Infographic

Online banner ads are the equivalent of a roadside billboard, with the exception that billboards cost thousands of dollars every month and are relevant to about .0001% of the people who see it, while banner ads cost pennies and are highly targeted to a very specific audience.

 

Leverage Your Existing Database

Facebook has a neat feature called, “Looakalike Audiences”, where you can upload your existing database and they will cross match the information and identify Facebook users from this list.  Once they have that list in hand they will essentially create a clone list that will look very much like your existing list.  You now have an entirely new list of people you can market to that exhibit a very similar demographics, interests and behaviors as your current client list.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Infographic

The lists are all saved in Facebook and you do not have access to the actual people on the list, nor can you download it.  It is meant to be used only inside Facebook.  When they do their data match with your existing list, they do it “blind” so they cannot see any of the actual information.  When they are done they purge the list from their database for privacy reasons.  In case you had questions concerning privacy.

Google Adwords also has a similar feature to Facebook's Custom Audiences called, “Google Customer Match”, that also allows you to create cloned audience lists in Google Adwords.  

 

Bonus:

Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most law practices are local in nature, targeting mostly the residents in their city or region.  Local SEO lets you optimize your website and other 3rd party local properties for your area so you show up higher in the local search results.  A local search result in Google is when the map appears in the search results with pin drop icons showing local businesses on the map.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Infographic

So if someone searches for something like, “divorce lawyers in Charlotte”, the results will show a map along with Charlotte divorce lawyers peppering the map.  How high you show up in the listing depends on how strong your website and local online presence is.

62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: “Phoenix divorce attorney,” etc.). (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

The main 4 areas to optimize are:

  • Your website
  • Google My Business Page
  • Bing Places Page
  • Important directories and 3rd party websites relevant to your city and/or industry

Want to improve locally?  Here are some easy steps to take:

1- Claim and optimize (fill out completely and accurately) your Google My Business and Bing Places pages

2- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is prominently displayed on your website

3 – Get client reviews for your Google Page.

85% use online maps to find legal service locations. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

Here are a few articles for further reading related to local seo:

Do you have an online marketing plan for your law firm?

Online is where it's at.  People research, play and shop online.  If you don't have a solid online marketing strategy then you are missing out on most of your potential client pool.  The above points should get you started, or at least give you an idea of what opportunities await for you in online marketing.

Have a question about anything here?  You can contact me here.

Powerful Facebook Ad Targeting Options for Business

10 Powerful Ways You Can Target Prospects Using Facebook Advertising

When it comes to being a Facebook user, you are not the customer, you are the product.

Facebook has more information about its users than most people realize.  They know where you live, where you visit, what you like and not like, what websites you visit and even your purchase behaviors.  How do they know all of this?  They use several sources for their data, as well as data from partner companies to create a pretty specific profile for each Facebook user.

How Facebook gets their data:

  • From your Facebook account. Every Like, Share, Interaction and Page visit you make
  • From your phone. Your location data, your search habits, the apps you use and your contacts
  • The websites you visit through their tracking cookies (logged in or not as most people suspect)
  • 3rd party data partners like Datalogix and Axciom

While this may not be great for Facebook users, it's a bonanza of opportunity if you are a Facebook advertiser.  I don't know of another ad platform that offers such specific targeting options as Facebook does.  This pinpoint targeting allows advertisers to get the most bang for their buck without having to waste ad spend on people who will never buy their product or service.

Ad Types and Options

Facebook lets you create a variety of different ad types.  You can create text ads, image-based ads and even video to target your potential customers.  You can also run variations of your ads simultaneously so you can test which ones are performing the best.  This is known as A/B testing or split testing.

You also have a choice of running ads directly in a user's timeline (if you have a Fan Page), on the right side of the page (traditional ad), via mobile users and now even on Instagram.

There are dozens of different ways to target users on Facebook, such as demographic, interest and behavioral targeting, all which can be mixed and matched to create laser targeting options. The clearer you are as to who your ideal customer is, the more effective your targeting will be.  Below are 10 powerful ways you can target potential customers using Facebook Ads.

Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing is when you track people who have visited your website (or specific pages) and continue to advertise to them after they have left your website. It is a low-cost and effective way to advertise to people who may still be deciding if they want to purchase from you or are in the process of comparison shopping.

Facebook will give you a tracking code to place on your website so you can advertise to your Facebook visitors when they are on Facebook for a period of time that you determine.

You can learn more about Facebook Remarketing here.

Target Your Existing Customers With Your Own In-House List

If you have an existing database of customers or potential customers, you can upload this list to Facebook and they will match your data (email address, phone number, address) against their own database and identify which the people on your list that have a Facebook account.  They will then create a list so you can serve ads to them.  And here you thought they kept asking for your phone number for security reasons.

Using a list like this is great for reaching new or potential customers with current sales and promotions.  Even if you email these customers with your own email marketing campaign, most email open rates site between 20-40%, Facebook ads will help you reach more of your list and in a more interactive way.

You can upload your customer list using the Custom Audiences feature.  You can learn more about Custom Audiences here.

Create a List of Clones Based on Your Existing Customers

There is where you can get some real mileage out of the customer list you upload to Facebook.  Since Facebook knows so much about its users, you can have Facebook use your existing customer list to create what's called a “Lookalike Audience”.  It's basically a list of new Facebook users who closely match the demographics, interests and behaviors of your current customers.

You have the option of creating smaller lists that closely match your customer list or create a larger list that is not as closely matched.  Or you can do both, which I would recommend.  Wth this new list you now have a very targeted list of potential customers and Facebook did all of the work for you.

You can learn more about Lookalike Audiences here.

Target People by Demographics

When you start building your Facebook ad and begin selecting your targeting options, one of your targeting options will be by Demographics.  As you can below, you have a number of options when it comes to targeting by demographics, and each option opens up more specific choices for targeting.  Homeowners, people who are divorced, ethnicity (or at least affinity) and age are just a sampling of how you can narrow down your targeting through demographics.

You can even target people via timely Life Events, such as birthdays, anniversaries.  Powerful stuff if your business hinges on these types of timely events.

Facebooks Ads Demographic Targteting Options

Target Users by Interests

Every time you Like a new page, share an interesting post or comment on a friend's update, you are being placed into interest baskets that Facebook will use for targeting.  Need to target fitness buffs?  Check.  Women who love wine?  Check.  People who like hobby trains?  Check.  There are loads of options when it comes to interest targeting, you can even target people who like specific fan pages that you think might make a good customer.

Facebook Ads targeting by interests

Target Users by Behaviors

Targeting by behavior lets you reach people who have exhibited certain behaviors that your business would find useful.  If you are a non-profit, you can target people who have made charitable donations in the past.  If you sell high-end retail products, you can target people who have made high-end retail purchases in the past.

How does Facebook know all of this about you?  Mostly through 3rd party data partners like Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon.  They also pull some of these behaviors from your mobile phone and web browsing activity, which are all merged to create detailed behavior patterns for each of its users.  Scary?  Check.

Facebook Ads targeting by behaviors

Create Ads for Instagram

Facebook recently launched Instagram advertising through its Facebook Ad platform, which lets you create Sponsored Posts inside Instagram using the same targeting methods as would use for Facebook Ads.  The cool thing about this option is that you do not need to be an Instagram user (you don't even need an Instagram account) in order to run ads on Instagram.

Instagram is a great platform for businesses that have visual appeal and can create visually appealing images.  It's also great for reaching a younger demographic as well as women, who are in the majority on this platform.

The Instagram advertising option is active by default in the ad builder as well as the Power Editor, so you will need to uncheck it as an option if you do not want to use it.

Facebook ads Instagram

Target Visitors To Your City

If you are a business that caters to vacationers or visitors for conventions or business, you have the option to create ads for people who are currently in your area but live more than 125 miles away.  If your business relies on tourism, like site seeing tours, clubs, restaurants, etc, then this could be a great targeting option for you.  You can also narrow down your targeting using various demographic, interest and behavior targeting options found inside Facebook.

Facebook Ads People Travelling To Location

 

Target People in Close Proximity of Your Business With Ads

If you are a location-based business, you can target walk by traffic with Facebook Ads.  Facebook will use people's mobile devices to know who is in proximity of your business.  Using the demographic, interest and behavior targeting options, you can serve ads to people who are close to your store location who are likely to be interested in what you are selling.  Great for businesses with locations with high walking traffic, tourist areas and shopping malls.

Facebook Ads Reach People Near Your Business

Send Out Limited Time Offers To Fans, Their Friends or People You Target

Facebooks Ads lets you create timely promotions via their “Get people to claim your offer” goal when you first start setting up your ad.  You can use all of the targeting options available in Facebook as well as choose the time frame for your promotion as well as how many offers you want to be claimed before you shut off your promotion.

Facebook Ad Offer Claims

The possibilities are endless

As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can create and target ads using Facebook.  The great thing is that you can mix and match all of these options above to create powerful and targeted ad campaigns that can make sales and create new customers for your business.