Online Advertising Roundup – April 2017

Below is a roundup of online advertising posts for April 2017 that you may find interesting.

The Simple Step-by-Step Google Adwords Tutorial For Small Business Owners

Need help navigating AdWords? Check out this Google Adwords tutorial before you spend another dime in search engine marketing.

On – 04 Apr, 2017 By Tom Demers

4 easy ways real estate agents can use Google Adwords

Capturing leads online takes practice. Here are tips to bolster your online presence with a well-thought-out campaign

On – 27 Mar, 2017 By Michael Weinhouse

How to Make A Google Data Studio Dashboard for Adwords, Facebook, Twitter & Bing Data

I'm happy to share the next great reporting template – a Paid Channel Mix template with Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and Bing Ads data.

On – 18 Apr, 2017 By Anna Shutko

How to Set Up an Effective Facebook Ad Campaign : Social Media Examiner

Wondering how to set up a successful Facebook ad campaign? This article shares fundamentals to help you avoid mistakes that cost time and money.

On – 05 Apr, 2017 By Charlie Lawrance

3 Ways to Boost Your Lead Nurturing Strategy with Facebook Ads | Social Media Today

This post outlines three lead nurturing strategies for lapsed users using Facebook’s retargeting features.

On – 16 Apr, 2017 By DianaMackie

Making the Best Facebook Ads in MailChimp

Since rolling out Facebook Ad Campaigns a couple months ago, we’ve curated some content to help you learn the basics of Facebook ads and create an effective campaign strategy. It’s not only easy to

On – 30 Mar, 2017 By Maggie

How to Create a Basic Evergreen Facebook Ad Campaign – Jon Loomer Digital

Create a basic evergreen Facebook ad campaign to limit waste and enjoy consistent results for months at a time. Here's how you can create your

On – 30 Mar, 2017 By Jon Loomer

How to Get More Clicks on Your Facebook Ads

The network that more and more marketers (myself included) are turning to these days is Facebook. Facebook Ads is fast becoming the go-to platform for paid ads. Just look at how the interest level has

On – 25 Mar, 2017

HOW TO: Track Facebook Ads in Google Analytics (March 2017 Update)

A step by step guide for tracking Facebook ads in Google Analytics.

On – 05 Apr, 2017 By Ana Gotter

Free Data Studio Template and Tutorial: Facebook Ads

In this post, I'll explain Facebook is a problem for Data Studio and how to overcome it. Also you can find free Google Sheet and GDS templates to to explore

On – 28 Mar, 2017 By Anna Shutko

The Facebook Ad Types: How to Choose the Best Ad Type for Your Goals

When it comes to Facebook ads, which ad type will be most valuable for your brand? Find out which Facebook ads you should use for different purposes now.

On – 07 Apr, 2017 By Bethany Cartwright

How to Create Facebook Lead Ads: A Beginner's Guide

Ready to collect lead information directly from your Facebook ad campaigns? Learn the essential steps to creating effective Facebook lead ads in this guide.

On – 28 Mar, 2017 By Bethany Cartwright

How to Build a Powerful Keyword List for a Thematic PPC Campaign

Public holidays and special occasions are always a good reason to launch an advertising campaign and drive relevant traffic to your website. In this guide, we’ll share with you some useful ideas on

On – 10 Apr, 2017 By Maria Raybould

PPC Pitfalls to Avoid as a Small Business Owner

A small business may think PPC is not for them because they tried and failed. In reality, they've likely fallen into one of these avoidable PPC pitfalls.

On – 30 Mar, 2017 By Ronald Dod

4 Ways To Know If PPC Is Right For Your Business

When deciding whether or not to involve PPC in your marketing strategy, you must first thoroughly examine your existing business and marketing practices to maximize PPC’s potential.

On – 18 Apr, 2017 By AJ Agrawal

6 Reasons Online Advertising Campaigns Fail

6 Reasons Online Advertising Campaigns Fail

Are you finding it hard to run a successful online advertising campaign for your business?   Are you unsure on how to improve it and make it profitable?

The majority of businesses stink when it comes to advertising their business.  Little thought and a lot of money is the usual advertising combination, leading to poor performing ad campaigns.  No wonder that so many businesses don't consider paid advertising as a good way to generate new business.

What if I told you that advertising works, specifically online advertising.  What if I told you that people grow and scale profitable businesses every day using nothing but paid advertising.

Online advertising works, it actually works very well if done right.  The problem is that you are doing it wrong.  If you tried to play the piano for 5 minutes and sucked at it, would you declare that pianos don't work?  Of course not, you just need to learn how to play the piano.

People often say that nobody pays attention to advertising, only organic search results.  Those people are wrong and missing the boat.  While the vast majority of people ignore ads when searching for information online, when they have a commercial intent (they want to buy something), they click on ads 2-1 over organic search results.  Why?  Because ads are often very targeted and show exactly what you want, where you may have to sift through lots of articles and junk to find what you want to buy in the organic search results.

People searching in Google with commercial intent click on paid ads 2-1 over organic search results – Wordstream study

If you are currently investing in online advertising and finding that it is not working for you, you need to examine the many parts involved in forming a successful ad campaign.  Below are 6 areas you need to examine to make sure you are doing them correctly.  Each part relies on the other, so getting one of them wrong can lead to the entire ad campaign falling apart on you.

Targeting is Wrong

Do you know what kind of customer you are trying to reach with your advertising?  How much time have you spent building out a specific customer profile you want to target with your advertising campaign?

Having a solid understanding of who you want to target is a pre-requisite for a successful advertising campaign.  Many businesses gloss over this crucial part and it almost always leads to a poor advertising campaign.

Before you begin any advertising campaign, figure out who you want to target and build out a specific profile of this person.  Once you have this information, then you will have a much better idea of how you will reach them, what you will say to them and what you plan on offering them.

The average person now spends more time online than with TV and all other media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) combined. – Business Bricks

Wrong Online Advertising Channels

Are you reaching the right people with the wrong online advertising channel?  Are you using Twitter ads when you really should be using Google Adwords?  At this point, you should have a clear understanding of who you want to target, which should make choosing a advertising channel easier.

  • If people actively search online for your type of product or service, then Google Adwords may be a good option for you.
  • If you want to get in front of a very specific audience, the Facebook Ads offers laser focused demographic and interest targeting options
  • If you are a BtoB company, then maybe LinkedIn Ads is a good choice for you
  • If visuals work well with your business, then Instagram Ads or Pinterest Ads may be good choices
  • If you want to reach a younger, more tech-oriented crowd, then Twitter Ads is a good choice to reach your audience

Once you know who you want to reach, finding a way to reach them becomes easier.

Budget Is Too Small

You need to spend enough money and generate enough traffic to your website in order to understand if your advertising campaign is working or not.  You can't throw $50 at an ad campaign and then decide it doesn't work if it doesn't generate any leads for you.  You need to have an understanding of how much click volume you will need to generate in order to get an idea on how an advertising campaign is working.

My rule of thumb, at a minimum, you need to generate at least 100 clicks to your website before you can even consider evaluating the effectiveness of an ad campaign.  In reality, that number should be much higher to get more accurate data.  So if clicks to your website are costing you $1 a click, you need to spend at least $100 to even begin to consider if it is working or not.

It also depends on what your offer is.  If you are trying to get people to schedule an appointment with you, then your conversion rates may be much lower (and you will need more clicks) then if you were offering a free report in exchange for an email address.

Another mistake businesses make is spreading their advertising budget across too many campaigns, never getting enough click volume in any one campaign to make an informed decision.   Give your ad campaigns a chance and let them run long enough so you can get the necessary data to make an informed decision.

Landing Page Not Converting

If you are reaching the right audience with the right marketing channel and still nothing is happening, then most likely the landing page you are sending people to is not converting for you.  Your landing page is your virtual salesperson, it needs to compel people to take the next desired action you have set out for them.

If your landing page is not converting, look at the following:

  • Is the message on your landing page compelling to the kind of people you are targeting with your ads?
  • Does the landing page message match the ad that you are running?
  • Are you adding supporting evidence like customer reviews and supporting facts/statistics to the page?
  • Do you have a clear call to action so people know what to do next?

One of the best things you can do to improve your conversions is to test your landing page.  Change the offer around, create more compelling headlines, offer a no questions asked money back guarantee.  The point is to try out many different things to see what combination works to create a high converting landing page.

Poor Offer

Are you making a compelling offer to people visiting your landing page?  You can't tell people to take action, you need to make your offer so compelling that they feel like they have to.  Just having a “call us” or “order today” call to action isn't enough, you need to show them how their life will be better with your product or service.  You need to explain to them the financial and time costs if they do not take action.

Your ad and landing page copy should follow the tried and true AIDA copywriting formula.

Attention – Get their attention, say something that will perk up their ears.

Interest – Keep them interested with interesting facts, figures and examples. Use stories, examples and case studies to make your point.

Desire – Make them really want to buy from you.  Show them how their life will be better with your product or service.

Action – Get them to take the action you want.  Lead them through the steps they need to take to become your customer.

Not Measuring Results

For every ad campaign that you run, you should know:

  • How much I spent on the campaign
  • How many clicks to my website it generated and what was the cost per click
  • How many leads/sales did it generate and what the cost was for each lead/sale
  • How much an average sale is for you business and what your customer lifetime value is

Once you know these numbers then you can start making really smart decisions on your advertising.  With these numbers, you will know how much your business can afford to spend to generate a lead/sale.  You can then track your ad campaigns to make sure they are you are withing these numbers.  Without these numbers, you will continue guessing and going with “gut feeling”, which are wrong most of the time when it comes to marketing effectiveness.


The best online advertising campaigns improve over time

You're most likely not going to hit a grand slam on your first ad campaign, the key is understanding the ingredients to a successful ad campaign and continually assessing and improving over time.  Eventually, you will know exactly how to reach your audience and the words and offers will get them to take action.  You just need to commit to getting better every time you run a new ad campaign.

How Much Does Google Adwords Cost-

How Much Does It Cost To Advertise On Google Adwords?

Google Adwords does not charge a fee in order to use the Google Adwords platform.  You pay on a Cost Per Click basis, meaning you are only charged when someone clicks on a link in your ad and visits the website or landing page that is associated with that ad.

The question you really want answered is how much do I need to spend on Google Adwords in order to make it work for my business.  Here we will discuss how to determine what budget you will need in order to effectively advertise on Google Adwords.

In order to determine a realistic daily/monthly budget, we will need to know a few things:

  • What your estimated Cost Per Click will be
  • Estimated search volume for a search term you will be targeting
  • An estimate on how many visitors you will need in order to get a conversion

Note, when you are first starting an Adwords Campaign, you will only have estimates, these numbers will be refined once you start running your ad campaigns and can get some real data.


Cost Per Click

This is the cost to you when someone clicks on one of your ads and visits the website or landing page associated with that ad.  Your cost per click is determined by several factors, including:

  • How much you are bidding on a given keyword (Cost Per Click Bid)
  • Your Quality Score, which is your determined by your expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience
  • Other factors that make up your Ad Rank, which determined in what position your ad will display.

As you can see, there are lots of factors that determine your Cost Per Click, so the estimated Google gives you with the Google Keyword Planner are just loose estimates.


Estimated Search Volume

Estimated Search Volume will give you an estimate of how many people search for a given keyword during a month.  You want to know this because you may have a keyword you want to target, but it may only be searched for a few times a month in your market, which means you would need to add other keywords to your campaign in order to get enough “click volume” to have an impact with your Google Adwords campaign.  When you are first starting out, especially if you are a local business, you will most likely need about 10-20 keywords in your initial campaign in order to generate enough search volume to get the amount of clicks you want to meet your goals.


Your Estimated Conversion

Now Google Adwords can't determine this for you, this is something you need to estimate yourself or will need to wait until you have enough Google Adwords traffic to your site to make a determination.

Once you have an idea of how many visitors (clicks) you need to your website in order to generate a conversion, then you will be able to determine how many clicks you need each month and how much you need to spend in order to get that amount of conversions for your business.  Conversions can be anything you determine as the goal for your Google Adwords campaign, it can be sales, leads, email signups, etc.

Here's an Example

Jim owns a landscaping company in Charlotte and wants to generate new business with Google Adwords but is not sure how much he needs to spend in order to make it work.

Jim heads over to the Google Keyword Planner, which is a free tool inside the Google Adwords platform and does a search for landscaping keywords.  He sets the search criteria so it only shows search data for the Charlotte area.

He sees that there are dozens of related keywords that people in the Charlotte area use to find a landscaper.  He finds two that he likes, “landscaping companies”, which has an estimated monthly volume of 10-100 which has an estimated CPC of $7.20, and “landscaping service”, which has an estimated monthly volume of 10-100 searches at an estimated CPC of $5.74.  Note that Google Adwords only shows general search volume for new advertisers and for small budgets, as you spend more you will get access to more specific data, but it's still a good place for general estimates.

Jim estimates that he will need about 10 clicks in order to generate a lead, either someone calling his business or filling out a form on his website.  He made this estimate because his website now generates a lead for every 40 visitors to his website, but since these keywords are very targeted and specific, he thinks he will have a much better conversion rate targeting these two keywords.

So if Jim wanted to get a rough estimate on budgeting for his Google Adwords campaign for these two keywords, he would average the Cost Per Click of the two keywords ($6.47) and times it by the amount of clicks he wants to generate.

So if Jim wanted to generate 10 leads in a month for his business, he would need about 100 clicks (using his conversion estimate) to get these leads.  At $6.47 a click, he would have to spend about $647 on his Google Adwords campaign in order to generate the 10 leads he wants.  This can be broken down to about $21.30 a day (647 / 30.4 = 21.28) for a daily budget.

Now these are very rough estimates and they will 100% change once you run your campaign and get real data, but it serves as a great starting point if you are just starting out with Google Adwords.

More: Learn how to properly structure a Google Adwords campaign.


Important Things To Know

If you are just starting out with Google Adwords, you want to shoot for a minimum of 10 clicks a day and run the campaign for at least a month in order to get enough search volume and data in your account to make some more accurate estimates on your costs.  Note, these are minimums, if Jim the landscaper tried to run a campaign for $5 a day using the same estimates, he would never really get enough click data in order to know if Google Adwords works for his business.

Get started on Google Adwords here. 

Have questions or need help with setting up an effective Google Adwords campaign?  If you are new to Google Adwords you may also qualify for a free promotional credit you can apply to your account, you can Contact us here to learn more.

5 Great Places To Advertise in 2017

5 Great Places To Advertise in 2017

Online advertising should play an integral part of your overall marketing in 2017.

Why you say?

Because online advertising is seeing the most innovation out of all online marketing channels right now and it represents a huge opportunity for the businesses that embrace it and make it a central part of their overall marketing strategy.

SEO is still my favorite online marketing channel, but it is getting increasingly difficult for small businesses to achieve high rankings on a small business budget.  Content is saturated online and simply producing content just doesn't cut it anymore.

Social media platforms are getting stingier and stingier when it comes to reaching your fan base, with the hopes that you will just give up and start paying for advertising.  Facebook is leading the way with this, but Instagram (Facebook owns them) is not far behind as well as other social platforms taking a cue from Facebook's strategy.

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving. David Ogilvy

If you can setup solid landing pages and have a good overall marketing/sales funnel in place, online advertising can be very lucrative.  The biggest advantage advertising has over just about any other channel is that it is infinitely scalable once you get it right.  You can't produce referrals or higher organic rankings on demand, but you can open up a firehose of quality traffic to your site with online advertising.

While it is “pay to play, if you play the right way, you can make a lot of money with online advertising.

So where do you start with online advertising in 2017?  I have a popular post on this blog about the best places to advertise online, which gives a general overview of some of the most popular places to advertise your business.  In this post I want to discuss some specific advertising opportunities that can work very well for small businesses.

Below are my top online advertising opportunities for 2017.  If you are a small business, you can do very well by adding one or all of these to your overall marketing mix in 2017.


Facebook Ads

When it comes to online advertising, I think Facebook is the single best opportunity right now.  While Google Adwords is bigger and works very well, Facebook Ads gives you crazy targeting options at a cost below what Google Adwords is charging for advertising these days.

There is no other channel online right now where you can target pretty much your exact customer like you can on Facebook.

So what what can you do with Facebook advertising?

You can upload your existing customer database and target them on Facebook with ads.  You can create Lookalike Audiences, where Facebook takes your current customer list and creates a clone copy of potential customers who closely resemble your existing one.  We created a Lookalike Audience for a client last year selling franchises.  We took an existing franchise list of 500 highly qualified leads and created a Lookalike Audience with 200+K people on that list and generated over 800 new leads with that Lookalike Audience list.  Yes, it does work, very well in fact.

You can also create your own targeting options using your ideal customer profile.  If I was a photographer (or anyone targeting this persona), I could target women aged 25-35 within 20 miles of my location who were recently engaged and have an income over 80K a year.  Yes, you can get that targeted with your advertising.  Facebook combines everything they know about you, including your personal info, hobbies, friends, interests, etc, and merges it with 3rd party info they purchase (your credit card purchases, personal info) and create highly detailed profiles of you that they make available for advertisers.  Sucks for privacy, but great for advertising.


Remarketing on Facebook and Google Adwords

Remarketing is whens someone visits your website, a tracking cookie/code is placed on their device, and you are then able to serve ads to them on 3rd party websites after they have left your website.

You have probably seen this with some big brands like Zappos or Wayfair, where you visit their site and later see an ad on another website or in Facebook with an image of the exact product you were looking at before you left their website.

Remarketing works well in situations where consumers tend to price shop as well as for businesses where the sales cycle is longer, such as insurance or financial services.  Remarketing gives your business another opportunity to bring that person back to your website before they choose one of your competitors.

Google Adwords and Facebook represent the two largest markets for running remarketing campaigns.  Google Adwords represents millions of third party websites, so they give you the largest reach, but Facebook lets you run remarketing campaigns directly in a Facebook users news feed, which is awesome.  You actually don't have to choose one or the other, you can add remarketing code to your site for both and run them together.

With both platforms, you have the ability to fine tune your targeting even further.  With Google Adwords, you can narrow down to a specific geographic area, choose what websites you want to show your ads on, and fine-tune your demographic targeting.  With Facebook, you can do the same, you can choose to show your ads on Facebook only, or you can add Instagram ads and/or third party websites on their partner network, but you can't pick and choose what websites your ads display on.

With both Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, you can choose to run remarketing campaigns for visitors to your entire site, or just select pages on your site.  Remarketing has proven to show a better ROI than traditional online advertising and should be part of any online marketing strategy.


Ads on Google Maps (Adwords)

Through Google Adwords, you can have your ads shown inside of Google Maps when the local map listing results appear.  This is huge for local businesses as local search has taken on a huge role when it comes to organic listings in Google.

The great thing is that the ad, as of this writing, shows at the top of the search results, even above the organic listings.  The not so great is that there are only 1-2 ad slots displaying, which means lots of competition for those slots.  If you look at the images below, you will see the ads displayed with a purple marker on the map.

Google Adwords Local Search Ad Listing Google Adwords Local Search Ad Listing on Maps

About a third of all mobile searches are local in nature and local searches are outpacing general searches on mobile by 50%.  With over a billions people using Google Maps, local search ads on Google Maps represent a huge opportunity for local businesses.

Google is actively expanding local ads, with Promoted Pins, which will be available to all advertisers soon.

Google Promoted Pin Ads on Google Maps

So how do you make your ad campaign eligible to display on Google Maps?  You will need to connect your Google My Business page to your Google Adwords account using Location Extensions.  Instructions can be found here.

So how does Google determine what ad will display given there are so many businesses and only a few ad slots?  Google says it is using a variety of signals, including:

  • Query context.
  • Location.
  • Search/browsing history.
  • Interests.
  • Behaviors.
  • Time of day.
  • Demographics.

These new Google Local Map Ads are in the process of rolling out so they may not be available everywhere just yet.  Google is making local search and local ads a priority, so expect them to be available everywhere soon in addition to other new local ad formats (like promoted pins).



Call Only ads (Adwords)

Call Only ad campaigns inside Google Adwords is a recent addition to Google Adwords.  We have been using it for clients that have local businesses and the results have been great so far.

So what are Call Only ads?  They are ad campaigns that target mobile phones where the only option for the user is to click the ad to call.  There is not an option to go to a website, the only action is to call the business.  This essentially means that every click results in a lead, where with regular ad campaigns, you may need several clicks (or more) to the website for one of them to turn into a lead for your business.

The cost per click is higher that a traditional ad click in Adwords, but it's justified since every click is a lead.  If your business focuses on converting leads over the phone or most of your traffic is mobile, call only campaigns make a lot of sense for you.  And if you are in an industry where the cost per click is high or your website has poor conversion rates, then Call Only campaigns may make sense for you.  Most mobile users would rather just make a quick call rather than try and fill out a form on their phone, which can be cumbersome.

Some of our clients who have been very successful with call only ads are:

  • Plumbers
  • HVAC companies
  • Waterproofing companies
  • Mortgage brokers
  • Insurance companies
  • Contractors
  • Pool & Spa companies
  • Landscape companies

This is just an example of companies we have worked directly with using Call Only campaigns, it can apply to a host of different businesses and is worth trying out, it only takes about 5 minutes to setup a campaign.


Video Ads

Video ads were huge in 2016 and will be even bigger in 2017.  Facebook made video an important part of their overall strategy and gave video more prominence in user feeds that text and even image posts.  Youtube continues to grow and is the second largest search engine in the world, next to

We are living in a visual world right now and visual ad formats are getting people's attention in a way text ads just can't.  With internet streaming getting faster each year and mobile data plans getting more generous with bandwidth, more and more people are turning to video, both on computers and on mobile devices.

Why is this such a big opportunity for small, local businesses?  Because despite that fact video is exploding, the vast majority of small businesses do not use video at all, either organically on social media or when running ads.  Most small businesses don't have the technical skills to produce video and many don't have the money to pay someone.  And even if they do, most are too afraid to step in front of a camera and record themselves.  It took me two years to finally work up the nerve to step in front of a camera for the first time, now I regret not doing it sooner.

I wrote a blog post last year about exploiting the arbitrage in your industry, and video is one of those opportunities where most of your competitors are not using it and can become a major advantage for you if you are willing to use it.

So what type of videos can you create?

  • Talking head videos, where the business owner talks about their company and the value they can bring to their customers
  • Testimonial videos, where your customers describe their experience being a customer with your business
  • Explainer videos, where you have an animated video explaining what your do
  • Behind the scenes videos, where people can get a sneak peak on how your business operates and the people behind the scenes
  • Any videos that will help you generate more business

These videos can be professionally produced with all the bells and whistles, or it can be a simple video (even shot on your phone), with you and a good camera and audio to record you.  Both work and both can be very successful if done right.  Here are some videos from Youtube on getting started.


Get Started Now

Don't wait until half the year is over before you get started, do it today.  Online advertising works if you do it right.  It's also the only real scalable way to generate more leads and business online.  Have questions or need help in setting up an effective ad campaign?  Contact us here.

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Where To Focus Your Marketing Efforts in 2017

Where To Focus Your Marketing Efforts in 2017

If you didn't like the results you had with your marketing in 2016, great news, you can change it in 2017.


As the great Jim Rohn said, “If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. “


Great marketing is the result of constant evaluation and improvement.  Most marketing efforts suck in the beginning, the difference between poor marketers and great ones is that they learn from their mistakes.  Unfortunately, many small businesses never learn from their marketing mistakes.  They keep doing the same marketing tactics year in and year out, often at the advice of the people selling them advertising, and learn little in the process.  This lazy approach to marketing often leads to a failed business, or worse, a mediocre one survives just enough to drain the life out of the business owner.


When it comes to online marketing, business owners tend to get misguided advice from lots of different places on what they should be doing.  From social media, to SEO, to Pay Per Click advertising, business owners end up chasing their tail, going from one thing to another often with little results to show for it.


The good news is that a new year is also the opportunity for a new start.  Why not make 2017 a great one for your business?  Who cares what didn't go well the year before, the plans you had that never came to fruition or the goals that were never reached.  The only thing that matters now is that you are ready to take your marketing to the next level in 2017.


There are lots of different things to focus on when it comes to marketing and lots of different channels to pursue.  I have listed below the ones I believe are vitally important for every business owner and should be the focus of their marketing efforts in 2017.  I didn't include social media as a channel to focus on in 2017, not because I don't think it's important, I just think that for the vast majority of businesses, social media activity fails to impact the bottom line and leads to hundreds of hours of time spent that could have been used more effectively somewhere else.



“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” –  Leo Burnett

When it comes to your website, your email marketing, your print ads and when you speak to people in person, it's the words that sell.  Yet most business websites have poor copy that doesn't inspire or sell.  They have advertisements that fail to get people to take action and unclear value propositions.


While how your website looks is important, it is the words that will sell.  Yet most people focus on the look and treat the copy as secondary, sometimes even outsourcing it to the designer, who is not a copywriter.


If you want to have a big impact on your marketing in 2017, learn how to write compelling copy for your audience.  And it all starts with knowing who your target market it, who are you speaking to?  Once you understand who your audience is, write them a love letter.  Not a real love letter, but copy that has the same passion as a love letter.  Let them know why they are so important to you, why you appreciate them so much, and why they should be with you.  Let them know you will never let them down and how important they are to you.  Copy like that sells.


Understand why people buy from you.  Conduct research and surveys with your current customers or ones just like them, find out what makes them buy from a business like yours.  Once you have that information, create value propositions and calls to action that speak to this.  You want to make a connection with your audience, but you first need to understand what is important to them.


You don't have to hire a copywriter to make great copy, but you do need to learn the essentials of copywriting as well as a lot of practice.  If this sounds like too much work for you, then either hire someone to do it with you or be content with your current results.


Good blog for copywriting:



Email Marketing

Social media gets all of the attention, but smart marketers know the money is in the list.  The email list that is.


Study after study shows that email marketing produces a much better ROI than social media, yet most businesses will spend endless hours on social media and spend little time and effort on building an effective email marketing campaign.

If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree.

Venture Beat 2015 Study

You only own two things online, your website and your email list.  All of those followers you have on social media belong to that social media platform, you can't download them, you can't bring them with you to another platform and you can't speak directly to each of them whenever you choose because platforms like Facebook and Instagram limit how many of your followers you can reach without paying them.


Your goal should be to get people to your website and get them on your email list.  From there, for just a few dollars a month, you can communicate with them whenever you feel like and nobody can take that away from you.


When it comes to online marketing, email marketing is usually at the heart of any serious conversion funnel.  Building your email list over time will build your revenue over time, study after study confirms this.


If you aren't using email marketing software, that's the first step.  I recommend Mailchimp for basic email marketing, and Sharpspring if you are looking to get into marketing automation with advanced email marketing features.


So if you want to improve your marketing efforts in 2017, concentrate on growing your email list and writing compelling and engaging emails that you send on a regular basis.



Conversion optimization is when you continually test. measure and improve your sales and marketing funnel.  If your current funnel is producing a 1% conversion rate (which is average for an ecommerce store), then working on improving it to 2% can have a major impact on your bottom line.

Conversion Rate Improvements Funnel

When you focus on conversions, you study each of the steps in your sales and marketing funnel to find out where the “leaks” are, meaning where and when people are dropping out and losing interest in what you are offering.  Sometimes fixing even just one “leak” can lead to a big impact to your bottom line.  Conversion optimization is sort of a science where you study every aspect of your funnel and seek to continually improve it.


For a business owner, it starts with measuring all of your marketing and advertising campaigns.  If you spend $500 on a Facebook ad, how many visits to your website did it produce and many sales were made?  Once you understand these numbers, you can work on improving them, which can be better targeting, better ad copy or a better landing page.  As you dive deeper into what is happening in each step, you will start to see areas for improvement and ways to improve your conversion rate.


Good blogs on conversion optimization:




Direct Marketing

“A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable.” – Charles S. Lauer

Direct marketing is action oriented marketing where the goal is for people to take some sort of action after seeing your advertisement.  Success for a campaign is tied directly to how many people take you up on your offer, whether that's a sale, phone call or online form.  You see direct marketing all the time in the form of mailers (think ValPack), the Home Shopping Network, Infomercials, and online sales pages.


Every small business should have a direct marketing mindset when it comes to marketing their business.  It makes you much more diligent with your marketing dollars and ensures that you are earning a return on your marketing investments.  It also forces you to really think and analyze your marketing and advertising strategies, where many businesses prefer the “spray and pray” approach to marketing, where they eventually run out of money and stop marketing altogether.


Before you begin any marketing campaign, whether it's online or offline, make sure you set specific goals ofr your campaigns and ways to track and measure its success.  This is the only way you will ever improve your marketing skills.



Remarketing is an advertising method where you add a tracking code to your site that allows you to track and advertise to people after they have left your website.


Many ecommerce stores practice since the average conversion rate is about 1% for ecomm stores and remarketing allows them to bring people back some of that 99% that didn't buy.  Go to a site like and then search the web or go to Facebook after leaving their site.  You will begin to see ads appearing from that brand, often showing you the exact product you were looking at before you left.  What's happened is that a tracking “cookie” was placed on your computer or device and that website can now serve ads to you on Facebook or other 3rd party websites for a period of time that they determine.

Example of a Remarketing Campaign

Remarketing works great for a number of reasons.  It essentially allows you to continually market to them after they leave your website even though they never gave you an email address or other personal information.  It works great for businesses that have a longer sales cycle or a product or service where consumers spend a lot of time comparison shopping.  Remarketing allows you to stay top of mind with consumers and let's you reach them with additional messaging that may bring them back to your website.


The best part of remarketing is that it has a great ROI since you are reaching people who are already somewhat familiar with your brand and have expressed interest in the past.  Remarketing allows you to improve your overall conversion rates and lets you get more mileage out of your other marketing and advertising campaigns.


Facebook Ads

At 1.79 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp (500 million), Twitter (284 million) and Instagram (200 million)—combined. (Source: CNBC)

Facebook Ads present an enormous opportunity for small businesses to do some laser targeted advertising.  There is no other advertising platforms that allow you to get so specific with your ad targeting.  Pretty much anything you can think of is a targeting option when it comes to Facebook ads.


Want to target men aged 40-50 in California who recently purchased a motorcycle and love the Beatles?  Yes, you can target them.  Looking for baby boomers who recently moved to a new home in Colorado and have a habit of making high-ticket purchases?  Yes, you can target them.  The sky is the limit when it comes to you targeting options.


So how do they do this?  First off, they know your interests and likes based on everything you do on Facebook.  Joined a breastfeeding group?  You are now in an advertising bucket for new moms, breastfeeding, etc.  Every time you join a group, like a fan page or like/share a post, you are giving Facebook valuable data on what your interests are.


They also take your email address, phone number, schools you have attended and match it up with 3rd party data providers who give them a windfall of information about you once they can confirm it is you.  Ever wonder why Facebook asks you to confirm where you went to school or takes a guess at something personal about you?  It's because they have 3rd party information about you and want to confirm it with you.  Scary stuff if you use Facebook but great for advertisers.


Like we spoke about in the copywriting section, the more you can target and focus your campaigns, the more successful you will be and Facebook gives you the best targeting options anywhere on the web.


Read: Powerful Facebook targeting options

Get focused with your marketing in 2017

Hopefully, this article gave you some news ideas and inspiration for your marketing efforts in 2017.  Most of the above are interconnected in some way, especially with the copywriting, so doing them in conjunction with each other will make each of them more effective.


If you want to really get good at marketing, be stingy with your ad dollars, scrutinize everything, and be prepared and test and measure everything you do.  This is the only way you will cut out the marketing fat, improve your marketing and really grow your business.


Cheers to a successful 2017 for your business!

A Local Lead Generation Strategy That Works

A Local Lead Generation Strategy That Works


Having a reliable and consistent source of leads is the lifeblood of any small business. Without new customers,  the business will decay and eventually die. Unfortunately, is the eventual fate of many small businesses.

Leads for a business is like oxygen, lots of it fills you with energy and life, not enough and you start to labor.  None at all and you die.

So we know that creating a steady stream of new leads is very important, so how do we get them without breaking the bank?

Read below and find out.

For a small business owner, the first thing is to never spend money on marketing until you have a well thought out plan and understand the medium you will be advertising on and the outcomes you expect to receive.  If a salesperson walks through your door and tries to pitch you a coupon mailer or directory listing, never (ever) buy it on the spot.  I've seen so many businesses get roped into some overpriced print ad or direct mailer because the salesperson over promised on everything just to make the sale (and commission). You'll almost always regret a purchase like that and it'll start you on a path of being weary when it comes to spending money on advertising.


“Today it's important to be present, be relevant and add value.” – Nick Besbeas


The reason I love online marketing so much is that it is transparent.  Whether you do paid advertising, SEO or social media, it is relatively easy to see what results you are getting from your efforts.  Website analytics packages like Google Analytics, can give you rich detail as to how people came to your website (Facebook, organic search, Google Adwords, etc), what they did while they were there (time on site, pages visited, etc), and if they completed any of the goals you are tracking (contact form, online purchase, email signup, etc).

So when we talk about creating a local lead generation strategy, many of the strategies we will talk about are online.  The good thing is that if you have a solid online strategy, it'll also help with any offline marketing you do as you can also direct your offline marketing efforts to your website or landing page.


Getting Started

There are a few things you need to have in place before starting your local lead generation strategy.  Once you have these things in place you'll be ready to start driving relevant local traffic to your website.  In this lead local lead generation strategy, your website becomes the hub for all of you activity, both online and offline.


“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so.” – Bryan Eisenberg

#1 Target Audience

The very first thing you need to establish is who your target audience will be.  While your business may have lots of different audiences, each of them buy for different reasons and the first step is having some sort of understanding as to why because it will part of your messaging.

You may have one segment of your audience buy from you because of your pricing, value structure, or because they really want someone they can trust.  It's important to know these things because they will be the value propositions you use in your marketing.

It's like trying to sell a car to a family based on the speed and performance when they are really interested in the safety features of the car.  It makes you look tone deaf to your customer and you lose the opportunity to motivate them to take the next step with you.

The easiest way to get this information is to ask your customers.  Ask after they make a purchase and periodically survey your customers to find out why they became a customer.  Just as important is to survey people who didn't buy from you and learn where you need to make improvements.


#2 Your Value Proposition and Offer

Once you have a pretty good understanding of what motivates your customers, you can start creating your value proposition.  A value proposition is your statement as to why people should consider buying from you.  It should correlate with the information you gained as to why your current customers buy from you.  It should be customer centric, so focus on what the customer will gain.

Developing Value Proposition Graphic

Your offer is exactly that, the offer you are making to them.  It may be in the form of a discount, a free trial or some kind of consultation.  It's the bait you are using to get people to take action.  The offer should be related to the value proposition you have in place, so if your value proposition is based on the quality of your work, then you might offer a one on one consultation.  If your value proposition is based on being budget friendly, then you may create a discount coupon as your offer.

When it comes to running a local lead generation program, in many cases you will be targeting a specific audience during specific campaigns, which is why it's important to have an understanding as to why certain sub-sets of your customer base buy from you.


#3 Landing Page

Once you know why your customers buy from you and you have your value proposition and offer in place, you can create a landing page where people will “land” when they come to your site.

So what is a landing page? A landing page is a page where people start on your website.  If you are running an ad or posting to social media, it is where they are directed when they click on the ad or post.  In organic search, it is the page that shows up in the search results, which could be your homepage, a blog post or one of your service pages.

Learn more about creating effective landing pages here.

Local Business Landing Page Example

Source:Nifty Marketing.

For existing pages on your website, review them to make sure they have all of the necessary elements to convert a visitor into a lead.   Think of each page on your website as a standalone website, if someone only visits that page, will they have all of the necessary information they need in order to take the next step with your business?

In some cases, you will be creating a new landing page from scratch, especially when it comes to running paid ads.  Other times you will be directing people to an existing page on your website.  When it comes to organic search, I like every page on the website to have all the elements of a landing page since you don't have total control over what pages people land on like you do with paid ads.

I like to have a contact form on every page of the website, or at least a button with a call to action that links to a contact form.  Since you are a local business you should also have your phone number and address, even embed a Google Map on the page for easy directions. From running local lead generation programs for almost 10 years I've learned that the more opportunities you give people to take action, the more often they will take action.

Here are some services that help you easily build custom landing pages.


Lead Pages

Thrive Leads (WordPress)

*For WordPress, many modern themes have visual page builders that letyou create landing pages without coding knowledge


#4 Sources For Local Traffic

This is not a comprehensive source of local traffic, but these are ones that I personally use and have found great results with.  Some of the options are free and some are paid.  We aren't going to go in depth into each one but if you find some that are of interest, click through to the link and find out more.


Google Adwords

With Google Adwords, you can create local search ad campaigns that target a specific area around your business.  You can create separate campaigns for different services or products that you offer.  Google Adwords is great for local lead generation as you can setup campaigns that target a local area and have those ads triggered when someone searches for what you are offering.  It doesn't get much more targeted than that.

Google Ad Sample Formats

In Google Adwords you have the ability to create text, image and video ads that you can target to your local area.

To get the most out of the local aspect, you can connect your Google My Business page (see below) and create what's called a location extension for your ad, which shows your location info pulled from your GMB page.


Facebook Ads

Facebook has so much information on its user that it's scary.  The Facebook ad platform allows you to target users by demographics, interests, and behaviors.  You can combine all of these to create some laser-focused targeting with your ads.

Sample Facebook Ad

Image Carousel Facebook Ad

You can target users using a radius around your location or service area as well as specific local targeting options such as Proximity Ads and Offer Claims.  You can even upload your own customer email list and target them with ads on Facebook. You can read more about the powerful targeting options available to you here.



Remarketing is having the ability to advertise to a person after they have left your website.  When someone visits your website, your remarketing code drops a tracking cookie on the user's device.  Once this cookie is placed, you now have the ability to reach these individuals across the internet with your online advertising long after they have left your website.

Remarketing is a great way to get extra mileage out of your other marketing efforts as most people won't convert on the first visit.  It is also great for products/services where there is a lot of competitor comparison shopping, repeat purchases or when you have an extended sales cycle.

When To Use Remarketing

Google Adwords and Facebook Ads have the largest and best-remarketing platforms on the internet.  You can target people using text, image and video ads as well as sponsored posts when using remarketing for Facebook.  The ROI is usually very good compared to other advertising options and the costs are fairly low since you are targeting a relatively small group of people.


Print Advertising

I'm not a big fan of offline advertising compared to the online advertising options available, but they can be effective if done right and can still be incorporated into your online lead generation strategy.  Under print advertising, I am lumping together direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads.

If you have a good landing page setup that includes a strong value proposition and offer, then you can drive offline people to your landing page with offline ads.  Once they are on your landing page, they become part of your overall online lead generation strategy where you can capture their contact information, become part of your Remarketing campaign or take any other action you ask people to take when they are on your landing page.  The point is, once they are on your website you have several options available to you for converting them or getting information to reach them in the future.

Here are some great copywriting tips from a master.


Local Website Content

This falls under the category of Local SEO, where you “localize” your content to focus on your immediate trade area.  Localized content can be blog posts, you homepage as well as service/product pages on your website.  Beyond SEO, quality local content is great for targeting a local market on social media.

Local content can be talking about specific neighborhoods in your area, talking about past projects you have done that mention your local area, creating local guides, as well as mentioning your local area on your homepage and service page copy.  It's not about stuffing keywords onto your page but to incorporate local references into your copy naturally.

Local Content

As you create more and more content concentrated to your local area, the search engines understand that your website is about a specific area and will (eventually) start to give your content some preference for searches in that area.  Very specific local content also has the advantage of having much less competition.

While this tactic won't create leads for you right away, it is a solid long-term strategy that can generate leads for you month after month once it takes hold.


Google My Business

A GMB page should be your first stop when it comes to a local marketing campaign.  It's 100% free, easy to setup and will give you local visibility in Google and will drive traffic to your website.

The GMB listing is triggered when a local search is performed in Google.  You'll know it's a local search result when the Google Map appears in the search results with those little pin drops that represent local businesses on the map.

A GMB listing will show visitors where you are located (or the service area you cover), your hours of operation, a description of your business, images, as well a link to your website.

Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is accurate and that you have completed every field, including adding photos of your business.


Bing Places

Bing Places is the free Bing version of Google My Business.  While Bing only represents about 15-20% of the search market, it is still a great source of traffic and well worth the time to create a local listing with them.

The features are very similar to GMB and can give you some great visibility in the Bing search engine without spending a dime.  Same as GMB, make sure you fill out the listing fully and completely for the best chance to be seen in the local search results.


Email Marketing

Email marketing is often overlooked as social media has gained in popularity when it comes to communicating with your audience.  Yet study after study finds that email marketing produces a much better ROI than social media and just about every other marketing channel.

The challenge for small businesses is usually building an email list and then figuring out what to send people.  There are many strategies in getting people to join your email list, but adding a very obvious sign-up box (or popup notification) on your website as well as getting email addresses offline is a first step.  If you are consistent and give people a good reason for joining (coupon, discount, free guide, etc), then you should be able to build a solid email list over time.

If you are new to email marketing, you can use an email marketing platform like MailChimp, which offers a nice free account to get started.  If email marketing will be a cornerstone in your overall marketing strategy, then using marketing automation might make sense.


Get Started

Yes, that was a lot to take in but it should give you a solid start in creating a local lead generation strategy for your business.  The key is to have a plan before you get started and to know who your target customer is and what would motivate them to buy from you.

Small businesses usually don't have big marketing budgets so it's important to plan things out in advance so you don't waste your precious marketing budget.

Have questions about creating a local online lead generation strategy for your business?  Contact us here.

Online Advertising What To Use When

Online Advertising: What To Use When

Online Advertising What To Use When

Do you want to get started with online advertising but are not sure where to start?  Have you spent lots of money on advertising but have little to show for it?  While online advertising can be a goldmine for businesses, it's easy to spend money on the wrong platform, targeting the wrong audience with the wrong message.

All advertising platforms are different.  They all have different types of audiences with different intents and it's your job to understand this so you know the best approach to take with each platform.  People performing a search on Google are much different (and in a different mindset) than someone casually watching videos on Youtube.

Some advertising platforms, like search advertising, target people close to making a purchasing decision, while others, like social media, are reaching people at the beginning of the buying cycle or they may not be thinking of buying at all.  All of these require a different strategy and an understanding of who you are trying to reach and when.

Below are some of the most popular methods of online advertising, with a brief overview and suggestions on when you might use it.  Each one of these platforms can be its own topic, so you should investigate each platform further before you decide where you want to spend your money.

Search Advertising (Pay Per Click)

Google Adwords and Bing Ads are the two biggest platform for search-based pay per click advertising and is what most businesses use.  Pay Per Click advertising is when you pay only when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website.  While Pay Per Click schemes are available on non-search platforms like Facebook, search advertising is where the bulk of it happens.

When people type in a query in the search engines, like “plumbers in Austin”, the search engines return a list of web page results.  Some of these results are in the form of paying advertisers who bid to have their ad show when someone types in a query related the list of keywords they are targeting.  So if you were a plumber in Austin, you would want your ad to show up when someone is searching for plumbers in Austin as well as related search terms.

Search advertising works best when there is demand for your product or service because your ad will only show when someone proactively types in a search query. Business to consumer products and services work best since there is a much higher volume of searches, but BtoB advertising can also work very well as long as there is search demand for it.

When running search advertising campaigns, you are not really concerned about the demographic profile of the person making the query, only what their intent it.  The way you as the advertiser can define your audience is to set a geographical area where you want to target as well as when you want your ads to appear.

So when will you use search advertising?

You will use it when you have an idea of what search terms people will use when searching for a products or service like yours.  Once you have your list of terms people will use, you can create ads targeting people that make these searches.

Since the search intent is very specific, the costs tend to be a bit higher than other forms of advertising, but you are paying for someone specifically searching for what you have to offer.  For most businesses, I usually recommend running search ad campaigns as a starting point for online advertising as it is pretty cut and dry on how it works and tends to deliver higher quality leads than other advertising types.


Display Advertising

Google, Bing and Yahoo are the big platforms for display advertising, but there are lots of smaller ad platforms that cater to specific verticals and niches.

Display advertising is when you show an image, video or other animated ads on a website in the form of a banner ad. Think of it like a tiny billboard, except with much better targeting options and a much lower price.

Display advertising lets you show your ad to people as they search the web.  Thousands of websites participate with advertising platforms (Google Display Network being the biggest) to allow banner ads to be shown on their website.

Here's an example of how it works.  The NY Times partners with Google to show banner ads on their website.  You own an online cookie company and sing up with Google Adwords, using their Display Network to show your banner ads.  You set the criteria that you want to show your ads on pages where people are reading about food, specifically using keywords for cookies.  If someone reads a blog post about cookies on The NY Times website, your banner ad may show on that page because it matches the criteria you set and they are an advertising partner with Google.  This is a simple example of how display advertising works, you can get pretty advanced on how and when your ads show.

So when will you use display advertising?

Display advertising is not as targeted as search advertising (people aren't specifically telling you why they are viewing a page) so the costs tend to be cheaper than search advertising.  It is a great way to do some mass advertising on the web while still having control over how and when your ads get seen.  If you are a new business or trying to promote an event, display advertising can be a very cost-effective way to get the word out compared to traditional advertising.

Display advertising is also good when you have a product or service that people don't necessarily search for or even know exists.  We have a client that has a mobile trash bin sanitizing service, people love it, but it's kind of a new industry and people don't know to even search for it yet.



Remarketing is when people come to your website, you drop a tracking cookie on their device, and can  advertise to them on 3rd party websites after they have left.  You can usually set the duration on how long you want to remarket to them as well as how many times you want them to see your ad during that duration.

Ad type formats vary by platform, but you can usually have text, image, video or animated ads as part of your remarketing campaigns.

Remarketing is offered by numerous companies.  Google Adwords and Facebook are the two largest platforms that offer remarketing but other smaller platforms like Twitter also have remarketing options.  It is a great option for bringing back potential customers who were not ready to buy the first time around on your website and gives you the opportunity to stay top of mind (or offer a discount) while they are still trying to make a decision.

We often find that remarketing offers one of the highest ROI's compared to other advertising options since these people have already shown interest in your business, though the impact is usually smaller from a revenue standpoint since you are targeting a very small base of people.

So when will you use remarketing?

It is a great option when you are selling a product or service where people are doing comparison shopping as well as for businesses were you have an extended sales cycle.  Remarketing will allow you to stay top of mind during this process, introduce additional opportunities to show the value of your offering as well as offering discounts to try and seal the deal.  Between Google Adwords and Facebook, you can cover a big portion of the web with your remarketing ads.


Social Media Advertising

Social media as an advertising platform has come a long way over a short period of time, mainly thanks to Facebook.  The beauty of social is that you usually have a treasure trove of information to use as targeting options since they know so much about their user base.

Facebook, the king of collecting personal data without you knowing, has a scary amount of data that advertisers can use for targeting purposes.  I recently wrote an article on this, you can read it here.  For Facebook, you can target by demographics (sex, age, location, relationship status), Interests (hobbies, music, movies, health, food, etc) as well as Behaviors (bought a car recently, donates to charities, buys high-end furniture, etc).  Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest also offer interesting advertising options.

There are other social media platforms where advertising can work really well for you.  If you have a business where you can showcase visuals, Pinterest and Instagram have thriving ad platforms.  Twitter also has an ad platform if you know your audience is using Twitter.

One thing to note with social media advertising is that it tends to work best when you are not trying to make a sale from the platform, but rather to engage with them and maybe get them to take a first step.  For example, getting an email address or downloading something.

So when will you use social media advertising?

It's a great platform to use if you know that your audience is using social media and you also have a plan to engage with them beyond just asking them to buy.  Social media is a social gathering, bad etiquette “to hound” people to buy from you at a social gathering.  It is better to drive interest and engagement first, just like you would with networking. Like I said earlier, email sign ups, free downloads or reports and stuff like that are great tools to engage potential new customers and bring them into your sales pipeline.  Social media advertising can also work very well for driving interest/signups for events you may be running.


Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when you pay someone with influence to help promote your brand.  Think of Nike and Michael Jordan and Beyonce and Pepsi, these corporations pay big bucks to have these stars associated with their brand.

The great thing for small business is that social media has created an entirely new crop of online stars who all have their own following.  There are now everyday people who have amassed tens of thousands (sometimes millions) of followers in specific niches that are open to aligning themselves with certain brands.

These influencers are open to doing one-time shout-outs on social media, brand/product reviews, and even larger sponsorship deals.  Normally you had to do individual outreach to each star and try and work out some sort, thankfully there are several services that help pair influencers with brands looking to use their celebrity to reach a new audience.

There are lots of different influencer marketing platforms out there with, Vidrocket and Grapevine being a few that don't require big bucks to participate.  There are also platforms like Loot, that don't have influencers but can help you reach your audience in non-traditional advertising ways.

Of course, you can always go direct to the influencers who you think have the audience you want to reach, it's just more work.

So when will you use influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is fantastic if you are trying to build a brand and you want to make your advertising a little more natural than by just running traditional ads.  Some audiences aren't persuaded by traditional ads (Especially Gen Z and Millenials) so this type of marketing may be more effective in reaching them.  Finding the right influencers with the right audience can skyrocket your growth, though it can get expensive if they have a large audience (costs are typically related to the size of their reach) and you need to do your homework to make sure you are reaching the right audience.


Which platforms are right for you?

Hopefully, now you'll have a better idea on what online advertising platforms are available and when you would use them.  Take some time to investigate each one and decide if it's a good choice for you and what strategy you will use to reach your potential customers.  Online advertising is a big space and it's easy to get lost in it (and lose lots of money), so take your time and understand what you are getting into before you spend any money.

Running Successful Online Advertising Campaign

5 Reasons Your Online Advertising Campaign Is Failing

Running Successful Online Advertising Campaign

Are you spending money on online advertising and seeing little to no results?  If you're like most business owners, you were told that online advertising has a much greater ROI than traditional advertising, yet after several months and thousands of dollars, you still can't seem to make it work.

Online advertising does offer a much better ROI than traditional advertising, as long as it is done right.  Just like any advertising you pay for, if you execute it poorly then you will most likely see poor results.

No matter what advertising platform you are using or how much money you are spending each month, one or more of the mistakes below will usually lead to a poor outcome for your online advertising campaign.

No Strategy In Place

This is why most advertising campaigns fail, both online and offline, there is no strategy from the get go.  Before you spend a dollar on advertising you need to know what outcomes you want from your ad campaign, who you want to target and what you want to offer them. Map out every step of the ad process from who you will target, the ad itself and where you will send them after they click on an ad or call your business.  Each one of these steps is an opportunity to lose a potential customer and they all need to be working together in order for your ad campaign to generate leads.

Why do people buy from you?  If you don't know that then it'll be hard to craft an effective ad that makes people want to contact you.  Most businesses end up creating generic ads full of meaningless superlatives (we are the best!) that couldn't convince your mother to contact you.  Know what is important to your customers and include them in your ad copy.  It could be a guarantee, trust signals like reviews and awards, or upfront and transparant pricing.

Poor Research

Once you know what your plan is, then you can start your research.  Most businesses don't take the time to find the right ad platform, the right advertising channels or what type of budget is needed in order to run a successful ad campaign.  The problem for many businesses is that they don't understand online advertising and an advertising salesman will sell a solution to a business without regard if it is the right fit for that business.

Many traditional print advertising mediums now use their sales teams to sell online advertising solutions to small business and many of these businesses rely on these salespeople to put together an effective ad campaign for them.   It rarely works.  Why?  Because they are salespeople, not marketing strategists.  They get paid to sell you something and have the same advertising plan for every single business they sell to.

You need to spend the time (or pay someone) to find the right advertising channels that will allow you to get in front of your ideal customer.  If you are using a Pay Per Click ad campaign like Google Adwords, then you will also need to research what search terms people use in Google in order to find a business like yours.  If you use an advertising platform like Facebook, you'll need to research the right demographic and interest targeting options available.

If you don't do your research or rely on a salesperson to coordinate your ad campaign, it will most likely not produce the results you are hoping for.

Lack of Cohesiveness

Online advertising, and online marketing in general, will work best when you take a layered approach.  A great online advertising campaign will use several advertising options to reach their ideal customer multiple times, using multiple mediums.

An example would be mortgage broker running a Pay Per Click search campaign on Google Adwords where someone typed in “best mortgage rates in Charlotte” and triggered their ad.  That person clicks on the ad, visits the mortgage website and then leaves without contacting the mortgage broker.  But the mortgage broker is also running  Remarketing campaigns on Google Adwords and Facebook and now has additional opportunities to engage with that person after they leave the website.  In this example, 3 different ad campaigns were used together in order to try and convert a single visitor into a lead.

All of your online advertising campaigns should be working together with a common message and goal.  The beauty os online advertising, and online marketing in general, is that they overlap and complement each other, allowing you to reach the same potential customer across several online mediums.

Budget Not Spent Wisely

Poor budget management can kill even great advertising campaigns.  You may be spreading your budget too thin across too many advertising channels or you may be spending too much on poor performing campaigns and not enough on your winning campaigns.

Think of it like being in a casino.  You lose $10 on a hand of blackjack and move to another table and do the same thing.  If you only play one hand of blackjack at each table, you may never win a hand.  You are much more likely to win more if you stay at a single table and play multiple hands.  If you have a limited budget, don't spread yourself out too thin, focus on the ad campaigns most likely to have the biggest impact and expand to additional campaigns later.

One of the big advantages of online advertising over traditional advertising is being able to use analytics to track and measure ROI.  If you are not tracking the results of your ad campaigns then you will never know which campaigns are making money and which ones are not.  Tracking the results of your ad spend is the only way you will make smarter decisions with your money going forward.  All online ad platforms

Most online ad platforms provide robust analytics reporting.  When you combine this data with your website analytics and your own lead/sales tracking data, then you will be able to see what ad campaigns are working and which ones aren't.

Weak Offer/Landing Page

What is the purpose of an ad?  To generate interest, or for an online ad, to generate a click to a landing page (either on your website or a standalone web page).  You may have done a good job getting someone to click on your ad, but now that they are on your website, what now?

Your ad will generate interest, your landing page will generate a lead.  You can create the best ads in the world, but if it takes them to an underwhelming landing page then most likes you have wasted your money.

Many salespeople selling advertising solutions won't talk about this, but the landing page you send people to is what is really going to sell that person on your business.  So if you don't spend as much time (or even more) on creating a compelling reason for people to contact you once they arrive on your landing page, then your ad spend may be going to waste.

An effective landing page should continue the message you had in the ad that person clicked on.  It should also have a compelling offer or reason to contact you.  On the landing page you will want to expand on why you are the right choice.  You'll also want to add supporting evidence like customer reviews, industry awards and other signs of trust.  You want people to feel good about contacting you.

Have a plan in place before you start

Before you spend a dollar on advertising, you need to make sure you have done your homework and have considered all of the necessary pieces of the puzzle in order to make your online advertising campaign work.  Do your research to make sure you are targeting the right people in the right places.  Consider a layered approach so you can reach your potential customers across different channels. And create create great ad copy, an engaging landing page and an irresistible offer, all of which will help you run a successful and profitable online advertising campaign.

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. –  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.  



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.