The age of interruption is over for Internet Marketing.
If you happen to be selling anything online, the question that all internet marketing experts fail to answer for you is not: How do you get someone’s attention if you’re marketing an online business?
…because that’s the easy part.
The easy part is clear messaging, compelling creative, and the art of persuasion.
In other words, all those old-school affiliate marketing tactics that some “expert” taught you…where bloggers promote taking surveys for income, or write a 300 word post about someone else's course, or promote some out of date product with a crappy sales page and a clickbait headline…those tactics don't work anymore.
The market finally caught up.
Even though I just dissed affiliate marketing, some of the links included in this article are, in fact, affiliate partner links. However, the difference is that the article is not solely about linking to another product. The article is intended to help you take away some actionable steps to grow your business.
But what if you have all the right components in place…maybe you’re promoting your own products, or at least a trusted, high-ticket affiliate offer that you can personally stand behind, and you’re still not getting results? Keep reading sister, this blog post is all about common mistakes that small businesses make with their ads, and what the digital agencies don’t want you to know!
So the question is not “how do you get people to click on your ad” the question is actually:
How do you best optimize for conversion to get a profitable ROI (return on investment) if you’re running an online ad?
People are immune to online ads. You scroll right by them don’t you?
You know the ads I’m talking about right…those people who post a snazzy photo of themselves on Facebook with a really long monologue about how they’re going to help you lead the laptop lifestyle? First of all, what differentiates one of those ads over another? Some fake likes that you can buy cheaply from other countries? And who actually has time to read that dissertation or sit through a mediocre webinar with a bad sale pitch at the end?
Not this bossbabe.
Don’t get me wrong…webinars are a great middle of the funnel tool.
Wait, selling online…”Middle of the Funnel”…what does that mean?
Middle of the funnel means that you’re hyper-targeting your digital marketing campaign specifically to a group of people who already know, like, and trust you. Selling online is actually not that much different from selling in person when it comes to the methodology. It's just the tactics that are different.
If you’re marketing to a cold audience (which is what most small business owners do the first time they run an online ad) then that webinar isn’t going to produce the results you’re anticipating.
If you’ve never heard of the term “cold audience” it just means that you’re choosing your ad targeting based on people’s interests, location, gender, or age. In other words, you’re targeting “new” people who don’t know you.
So how do you get results (i.e.; a good ROI) if you’re targeting a cold audience? Well first lets address what platform you’re using. You probably already know that you can run paid ads on all the platforms. Before you run any paid ads though, it’s best to rewind and look at the platforms from a different angle.
From the agency angle.
How do I know the agency angle?
I worked in corporate and agency marketing for 14 years before I started my business. (Don’t judge, it was hard to give up a full time income for something risky). But my kiddos needed me. And I needed a way to be more present as a mother.
Back to the point of this article.
What does the internet marketing data suggest?
Start by looking at some stats. I think its important to do this because we now live in the age of information, and online data is black and white. It’s not grey like it used to be in traditional marketing. Here’s that the data says:
In the 2019 state of social media report, Buffer’s research concluded that 93% of businesses now use Facebook for advertising, by the way, in case you’re wondering about the other top networks, 84% use Twitter, 80% Instagram, 70% LinkedIn and 60% YouTube. BUT the kicker is, only 28% use Pinterest.
So this gives you a picture of where the competition is.
But lets take that one step more granular, because most people choose Facebook because they believe “everybody” is on Facebook, or because they’ve been sucked into the aforementioned crappy Facebook ads.
First decide if your exact target audience is likely to click on one of those ads on Facebook.
Depending upon who your exact target customer actually is, Pinterest is the best kept secret in online marketing.
I know what you’re thinking…how is this possible since most people are on Facebook, and if it is possible…well then can Pinterest work for my business too?
Lets talk about who your target audience is first to see if Pinterest can work for you.
But first, we need to dig into that data a little further to see why this makes sense.
If your business is targeting people outside of the US, well you’re in luck because 80% of the people who use Instagram are from outside the US. Oh yeah, and Facebook owns Instagram.
But here’s something…if your business targets upper middle class, educated women from the United States, guess where 80% of your audience hangs out?
Yeah, it’s Pinterest.
More specifically, lets think about what those female head of households are looking at and shopping for online…if your business has anything to do with:
Homes; Home Decor; Home Improvement
Books and Education
DIY, Crafts, Sewing
Health and Wellness (especially alternative medicine)
Travel and Adventure
Gardening and Landscaping
If you business has anything to do with the above and you’re not leveraging the power of Pinterest, you might want to start thinking about it.
Not sure you believe that women head of households make most of the buying decisions? Have you read Why She Buys? It’s a good one for understanding the psychology behind how to market and sell to a modern woman.
As a small business, we know it’s hard to master the nuances of every social platform, you just can’t be everywhere.
I wish I learned this sooner, because I really tried to master every platform early on.
I've been running Facebook ads for my clients since 2014. I did creative design, copywriting, and website maintenance as well…dating all the way back to 2010. For a long time I took on freelance work simply because it paid the bills.
But now things are very different in the world of digital marketing now from it's humble beginnings in 2010. It began before that, but the world started noticing around 2010.
It’s been an exciting time in this age of digital transformation, because we’ve all learned that each social platform works well for very different purposes, it’s really just a matter of applying the right strategy and then leveraging the one(s) that works for your target customer.
My best advice? Start with one network.
Especially if you’re a small business or even a Freelancer.
When you’re a small business, whether selling products or your own services, you need to fill all the roles. You’re the “doer” you’re your own “salesperson” you’re the designer, the developer, the marketer. You’re always marketing your own brand whether you think so or not.
Background on Attraction Marketing
As a small business, as your own brand marketer, your goal is always to attract a loyal tribe of people that subscribe to the same beliefs, attitudes, and values as you do. Attraction marketing can be polarizing, and that’s okay. The goal is to attract the people who want and need what you have to offer and repel the people who don’t.
We’re in the midst of a paid ad market correction at the moment.
What is a paid ad market correction?
It’s actually the same macro-economics that you probably learned about in high school…when too many businesses are “selling” the exact same thing, it drives the price down and the competition up. More specifically, this is applicable to running paid ads on Facebook. Lets look at an example.
If you run Facebook ads the wrong way, you’ll get caught up in paying out the wazoo for your CPC (cost per click). Back in 2014, CPC was about $0.40 cents per click. Now it’s well over $3.00 per click. That’s an absolute waste of money unless you have the proper system in place.
How do you know if you have the proper system in place?
The top 3 questions to ask yourself before you run a paid ad:
1. Who is your target audience?
This may seem obvio, especially since we just discussed it above, but you really have to zero in and be crystal clear. Here are the cold, hard facts: your audience targeting numbers need to be between 100,000 and 500,000 in order to be effective.
Anybody can figure out how to press the button on the ads manager, but if you’re looking at the sidebar and seeing that your audience size is 20 to 50 million, you’re way off base. Prefer to hire us for a strategy consultation? View our Services Here.
That means that you need to zero in on your targeting. Do you need some help to zero in on your targeting? Download my FREE Find Your Nice worksheet and Guide. This will help you really hone in on who you’re targeting. Because if you think you’re targeting women, ages 18-45, who live in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, then you’re not going to get good results with your paid ads. Ahem, let me say that again because it's important: You're going to LOSE YOUR SHIT on Facebook ads if you can't zero in on your audience.
You need to be much more specific.
2. Do you have a product or a service that you’re selling?
This is rather simple, if you don’t have a product or a service, don’t run paid ads. The quickest way to lose money with paid ads is to try to market a product that isn’t yours. In other words, trying to market only affiliate products using paid ads is not a sustainable business model. Unless you have a huge enormous audience already with 100,000 followers or 50,000 email list subscribers, you’re better off waiting until you actually have something that will give you some type of return on investment. Now this strategy is different for small businesses who have a loyal audience and have developed rapport with their audience. Remember, we’re talking about paid ads here in this paragraph, it’s a different strategy.
3. Do you have the right system in place for followup?
By the right system, I mean you need a landing page that is formatted properly, an automated followup sequence, and even a tripwire. These 3 components are the absolute basics when it comes to having a system in place. No system, no dice.
So then what if you have all these things in place but you’re still not getting results?
Here are two options: We offer different packages for all of your needs, whether you’re just starting with your strategy and you want some help getting a plan together right from the beginning, or you’ve been playing around with social media and not having much success so you’re ready to pass off the day to day management.
If you don’t have a big budget, but you want to learn as much as you can to leverage the power of the Pinterest platform for your own business (or, if you're interested in learning Pinterest Marketing Strategy so that you can apply the techniques yourself or offer it as a specialized service to your own social media marketing clients), I encourage you to check out my mini-course: The Pinterest Business Plan
What are you waiting for? Hire me to help you with your Pinterest Marketing today and turn that dream into a reality!
Considering the Pinterest mini-course but you want a little test drive first? Get started for FREE with this checklist!
Wondering why you aren't getting good results with your online advertising efforts?
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
We are constantly interrupted by text messages, tweets, push notifications, ads, Facebook, email, and the list goes on. That means if you don't have an attention grabbing headline at the very least, your ad is likely to get passed over.
Marketing a small business online is very different from traditional forms of marketing. When diving in to the world of online advertising, knowing exactly how to target the right audience is also incredibly significant. However, even with the best audience targeting strategy in place, there are a few other factors to pay attention to…including your headlines, copy, creative, and retargeting strategies.
Lets take a closer look at each of the 4 elements that make up a revenue generating ad campaign:
You don't necessarily need to be a professional copywriter to come up with a great headline, but it does take a little thought and careful planning. When social media first hit the scene for business, the year was 2006. Most corporations and small business owners alike weren't even sure if social media would stay the course long-term or just become a passing trend. Now the competition is becoming more and more apparent, but those who know how to implement the strategies and tactics properly can soar past their competition.
Here's an example of a scenario that has happened hundreds of times over the last 14 years as I worked at a digital agency and assisted small business owners from all difference nîches who simply weren't getting the results they were hoping for from their Facebook ad campaigns. Turns out it was all in how the ad was positioned which didn't quite resonate with their intended audience.
What is positioning?
A positioning statement is a very brief, concise description of how your product or service benefits your customer and solves their unique problem. In order for an ad to be effective, there are two parts to the positioning of the ad: 1. you need to be able to state how your product or service solves the problem in just a few words. When it's unclear what you're offering, people get confused and keep scrolling. 2. The problem and solution need to match up to the proper phase of the sales funnel. Lets expand on this with an example.
A Not-so-good Positioning Statement
Does wanting to learn how to start a blog make you want to pull your hair out? I have the answer to your frustration! I've created a comprehensive training program that walks you through how to start a blog and make money step by step so you can get you up running in under an hour.
A Good Positioning Statement
Stuck on how to start a money-making blog? Start by downloading this Free Guide!
With a few tweaks to your copy and the image, you can easily get great results when running an ad to the right target audience. I've been running online ad campaigns for clients since the start of online advertising, and I've seen businesses of all sizes struggle to get it right. Why do they struggle?
Element 2: The Sales Funnel
If you don't have an extensive background in sales and marketing, you might not be quite as familiar with something called the Sales Funnel. A Sales Funnel is really just a fancy way digital agencies describe talking to their potential customer in a way that resonates.
A digital sales funnel has 3 phases: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision, and each one of these phases is markedly different. Designing a proper ad campaign needs to properly correspond to the exact phase in the funnel or it just won't work.
Here's why. Most businesses who are new to online marketing intend to target “new” customers, which would correspond to the “awareness” stage. However, the business unknowingly designs an ad campaign which corresponds to the decision stage and then wonders why nobody is buying their product or service.
Think about it this way: What do you do when you hear about a product or service that is new to you? You Google it. At this time, you're most likely in the research phase, where you're probably not quite ready to buy, but you're looking for more information to learn about how this product or service will solve your problem.
If the ad campaign is set up to target “new” customers and then the link takes them directly to an order form that you created with Samcart or Paypal, you'll never get that potential buyer to open their wallet because you're targeting them in the wrong phase of their customer journey.
They're not ready to buy yet. They need to learn who you are, how and why your product or service will solve their problem better than anyone else, and then read testimonials from others who have experienced great results. So what does this mean? In this particular instance, it means that you should have something called a sales page which is an intermediate step that comes between the ad campaign and the order form.
This above is just one small example of how a blogger or small business owner might not be getting the results they expect with online advertising. Keep in mind there are 3 phases to the sales funnel, and knowing how to both position your product as well as speak to your intended customer is what makes all the difference from a stellar ad campaign and one that flops. Need some help with your online marketing and advertising strategy? Click here to view my services. Prefer to DIY instead? Read on for some ways to get started…
For small start-ups and budget conscious entrepreneurs who need help but also want to DIY, you might want to consider using a free online tool that can really ignite your copywriting. A Free Headline Generator can save even the best copywriter an incredible amount of time and effort, and for those who make a living with an online business, it's an absolute no-brainer that is worth it's weight in gold. The software asks you a few simple questions about your topic, and then writes your headlines, ads, and email sequences for you. You plug in answers to the questions, click “generate” and then just copy and paste! The software literally generates 100 headline options with the click of a button.
Element 3: Ad Creative
We all know the old adage…a picture is worth a thousand words. Never overlook what your ad looks like. A good ad can help with branding, credibility, and provide you with authority overall. But again, not every small business owner has the budget to hire their own designer. There are a few options if you are fairly tech savvy and you want to design your ad yourself. You could start by grabbing some free stock art from sources such as Unsplash or Pexels. Keep in mind though, that using free stock art and/or clip art will increase the risk of your ad looking the same as hundreds, even thousands of others. A better option is to pay a nominal fee for stock art from a site such as PixiStock or GirlBoss.
Once you've got the perfect image to capture your audience's attention, use a free tool such as Canva.com.
Element 4: Re-targeting
Aside from an ad's creative, one of the most recognizable ways to use social media advertising is for re-targeting.
Using the ad platforms to retarget is one of the most sought after strategies that big corporations use to increase sales and brand awareness, and the same strategy works for small businesses too. It’s a powerful way to improve the effectiveness of your ads, especially for e-commerce businesses.
When you visit a website and then you see the exact product you viewed a day or two later in your newsfeed, that’s retargeting. Psychologically, buying habits are complex, but it’s widely known that consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they see an item they were previously considering again.
According to research from Moore Stevens, an accounting firm in the United Kingdom, brands in Great Britan and North America now spend 23% of their budget on marketing technology. That equates to over $52 billion ad dollars a year in online advertising. So if big business can do this, so can you.
Selecting and segmenting your audience (in other words, grouping them into meaningful categories) is the most basic and important criteria of running a successful retargeting campaign because you absolutely don’t want to target everyone who visited your website with the same ad. This just happened to me recently. I bought someone’s ebook, and then a day later, the ebook ad was shown to me again, several times over the course of 3 days, in my newsfeed. It was getting so annoying that I actually unsubscribed from her email list.
To avoid annoying your customers with ads, it’s important to segment and group your website’s visitors into categories according to their behaviors and the actions they take on your website. For example: you can segment based on people who visit your page without buying anything, a visitor who clicked and almost made a purchase but abandoned their shopping cart and closed their browser without buying, and then visitors who completed a purchase from you.
The best way to get started is to segment the buying customers from the visitors so that you don’t accidentally show the buyers an ad the next day for the product they just bought.
To do this, you would simply configure a custom audience for each different ad. By using the custom audience feature inversely, you can exclude anyone who visited the thank you page URL (because that means they already made a purchase).
So…now that you've got the perfect Ad Campaign…What's Next?
Now that you've got your ad completed and ready to launch, it's important to remember that your audience needs to land on a sales page that is specifically designed to entice them to do something. Either sign up for your list or buy something…because lets face it, why would you pay to run an online ad if you're not ready for them to take the next step? If you don't have a way to follow up, your ad simply will not be effective, and that's where email marketing automation comes in.
My favorite tool for Email Marketing Automation for bloggers and small business owners is ConvertKit. It's easy and intuitive to use, and does a far better job than MailChimp. When you're first starting out, MailChimp seems like a great idea, but it's much more efficient to invest a small amount of money into a tool that will truly take your business to the next level!
I started out by using MailChimp back in 2006, but even as technology has progressed, their system for tagging is still not as intuitive as it should be. I recommend ConvertKit for solopreneurs and small business owners making between zero and $250,000 in annual revenue.
If your business is grossing between $250,000 and $5 million in annual revenue, then I highly recommend checking out HubSpot. It's a CRM and comprehensive marketing automation platform all-in-one. While this tool is the cream of the crop in terms of marketing automation for small business, the cost is $10,000 a year payable up-front, which is why it's a tool that is better suited to established small business and enterprise companies. To claim a 30-Day Free Trial, click here.
Looking for more expert tips and guidance with digital marketing? Sign up for my FREE Email Masterclass. I'll send you an email a day for 5-days that is designed to teach you how digital agencies set up campaigns to sell online products and services for their customers. Blog to Biz: Email Masterclass – Learn More!