Webinars – the teacher is in the house

September 12, 2018

webinarI’m hoping that you’re finding this series focused on the channels too critical for you to ignore in 2019 has been helpful so far. The channel we are going to focus on today is the redheaded stepchild of the list. I think it is often overlooked or dismissed because it seems a little daunting and because we’ve seen it executed badly when we’ve been on the audience side. I’m talking about webinars.

Webcasts and webinars can help you create compelling content that drives leads and sales. A webcast is usually more of a one-way flow of information. It’s broadcast online to a large audience and the audience does not usually contribute much to the content of the webcast.

A webinar, on the other hand, is more interactive and can be thought of like an online meeting or class. The content is typically very educational. Your audience is probably a little smaller, but it’s more of a two-way conversation.

For most businesses, a webinar is a more commonly used tactic, so I’m going to drill deeper on that option.

I think many businesses dismiss webinars as a viable tactic because they believe:

  1. They’re difficult, from a technology point of view, to pull off.
  2. You don’t know enough to teach something interesting.
  3. Webinars are painfully boring (at least the ones you’ve attended), and you’re afraid yours will be too.
  4. You’re not a public speaker.

Let’s tackle those concerns and weave in some best practices.

The technology is the easiest. There are many very affordable (less than $100/month) SaaS tools out there that make it incredibly easy to set up the webinar, take registrations, set up an automated reminder schedule for people who have signed up and record the webinar for sharing with those who can’t attend.

One of the realities you need to plan for is that many people sign up for the webinar, never intending to attend the event live. They are signing up so they can watch the replay when it works better for their schedule. If for some reason, it matters to you that you garner a larger live audience, you can communicate that there will not be a replay available. But that’s not usually how it’s done. Normally you can expect about 50% of the registrants to show up live, and the other half just want to watch the video of your event.

The other three concerns are woven together for me. If you start with the belief that it’s your job to make your audience smarter and better at their job/life (depending on what you sell) without trying to sell anything, you’ll be amazed at how valuable your webinar can be. You don’t need to be a polished speaker (you should practice of course) if you’re genuinely teaching them something useful.

You need to make sure that you:

Build in interaction throughout the presentation. Don’t wait until the end to take questions. Use polls, the Q&A box and giving them some choices (would you rather have me explore X or Y) so they stay engaged even though their email, co-workers, and Facebook are fighting for their attention.

Use more slides, not less: Believe it or not, unlike a live presentation where they have you to look at, they need visual stimulation to stay interested. So changing out your slides more often will keep them connected to your message. One concept or point per slide should be your rule of thumb.

Present boldly: Much like they tell an actor to speak so the back of the house can hear them, you have to do the same metaphorically. You need to have more energy, more intonation and more personality than you might in a face-to-face meeting. Never forget that this is part teaching and part performance.


Marketing leaders embrace GDPR as a path to trust and improved experiences

September 5, 2018

While some organizations saw the May 25 enforcement deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the finish line for compliance, leading edge marketing executives saw the day as a starting point of a journey to reinforce trust and actively improve the customer experience.

According to data from the CMO Council, in partnership with SAP Customer Experience, marketers from organizations who took the lead in preparing to meet and exceed GDPR data standards noted increased trust and engagement levels with customers. While survey respondents agreed that the implementation of GDPR standards reinforced a responsibility to better protect their customer’s data, the issue became whether or not an organization would seize on the responsibility and turn regulation into optimized experiences.

For their part, GDPR leaders – those marketers who had not only established a plan but were also well down the path of execution and compliance – believed GDPR was an opportunity to deliver better customer experiences and to build customer trust and loyalty. Alternatively, GDPR laggards – marketers without a plan in place or far removed from process, having no idea if a plan was in the works – remained happy to see compliance as a burden for other teams to resolve or an issue for only EU-based companies to tackle.

“What marketing leaders have seized upon is the reality that trust is the currency of today’s data-driven customer engagement – without trust, the customer will walk away from an experience, taking their loyalty and their wallets with them,” noted Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing with the CMO Council. “GDPR, and more specifically the frenzy of activity surrounding the compliance deadline of May 24, 2018, was not the end of a security conversation…it was the start of an experience transformation.”

The white paper entitled “GDPR: Impact and Opportunity – How Marketing Leaders Addressed GDPR Readiness and Compliance,” is based on an online survey of over 227 senior marketing executives, taken at the height of GDPR readiness planning and activation. What emerges is a view of best practices taken by data and engagement leaders versus the attitudes adopted by the laggards.

Among the key differences between GDPR compliance leaders and laggards:

• Leaders see opportunity to secure trust, loyalty and experience. Laggards assume GDPR is someone else’s problem. 39 percent of marketers without a GDPR strategy felt the regulation did not apply to their business.
• Leaders lean in and take part in the strategic planning and execution. Laggards wash their hands of the burden.
• Leaders audit, assess and accelerate shifts needed across data and marketing and engagement’s technology stack. Laggards stay in the dark. 55 percent of leaders had already initiated some form of data audit to fully understand where and how customer data was being stored and collected.
• Leaders champion change on behalf of the customer. Laggards stick to the status quo. 37 percent of leaders are planning to upgrade capabilities across all data management solutions.
• Leaders are empowered by an idea that trust and engagement are the reward for compliance. Laggards are being held back by a lack of understanding GDPR requirements.

“Savvy businesses already understand that to win customer loyalty they must lead with transparency and consent,” said Patrick Salyer, General Manager, SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Customer Experience. “In today’s landscape, companies are realizing that trust is the ultimate currency and it serves as the foundation of all meaningful customer relationships.”

The white paper is now available for download here. It is based on the input from marketers across a broad range of industries including retail, financial services, consumer packaged goods and consumer electronics and information technology. Some 40 percent of respondents hold a title of Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Marketing or SVP of Marketing, whose headquarters are primarily in North America. One in four is with an organization with revenues in excess of $1 billion USD.


Jumping on the podcasting bandwagon

August 29, 2018

podcastingAs we march towards January, I am devoting my time here to talking about some of the channels and marketing tactics that you need to have in your consideration set for your 2019 marketing plan and one that rises to the top of that set is podcasting.

Previously, I shared these statistics:

  • The average US adult now spends over 100 minutes a day watching digital video (eMarketer)
  • 26% of US adults listen to at least one podcast a month (statista.com)
  • 65% of B-to-B marketers use infographics (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 55% of B-to-B marketers use webinars and webcasts (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews (BrightLocal)
  • 92% of consumers visit a retailers website before making a purchase (Episerver)
  • Online adults 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social networks (MarketingSherpa)

And most recently, we explored how you can leverage the popularity of video as a channel and now I want to turn our attention to podcasting.

Podcasting came into being back in the 1980s and in those days, we called it audio-blogging. The content wasn’t very accessible because technology hadn’t caught up to the idea, so it was really a niche way of communicating to a very small audience off of a website. With the advent of broadband internet, portable digital audio playback devices (think iPod) and iTunes, podcasting became a viable thing in late 2004.

Fast forward to 2018. Podcasting is on the cusp of being very mainstream. 44% of Americans (12+) have listened to at least one podcast and 26% listen to at least one podcast a month. Podcast listeners are an affluent, educated consumer, with over 51% of monthly podcast consumers earning $75,000 a year or better. (Edison Research)

One of the reasons podcast adoption is growing is that people can listen while doing something else. Listeners report binging on their favorite podcasts while they’re commuting to work, on the treadmill, walking the dog or cleaning the house. Given the reality of how we multi-task, the appeal of being able to consume information while accomplishing other tasks is very appealing.

If considering a podcast, remember this is not a sales tool. This is about you making your audience smarter/better or entertaining them. Umpqua Bank’s Open Account is an insightful example. Their premise is that people are uncomfortable talking about money and the podcast takes an unconventionally honest approach to talking about financial struggles, pressures and stress and how people have overcome them.

This is about creating an audience that becomes your community by demonstrating that you understand who they are and what they need. Once you’ve done the hard work of getting all of your technology squared away and are producing podcasts, you’ll also enjoy how that content can be sliced and diced.

From one 60-minute podcast, at a minimum, you can create:

  • 1 podcast episode
  • 1 article to submit to a trade or specialty publication
  • 2 video clips
  • 2 blog posts (1 based on the content and 1 announcing the episode release)
  • 10 tweets quoting you or your guest
  • 3 FB posts
  • 3 Instagram quote graphics
  • 3 Pinterest graphics
  • 1 Linkedin article
  • 1 webinar
  • 1 lead magnet piece of content (ebook)

That’s 28+ pieces of relevant, branded content. It’s hard to beat that from an ROI perspective. Not only are you building a community but you’re also building out your content calendar.

A podcast is a commitment. The last thing you want to do is launch one and then stop producing it. But when done consistently and well – it’s a very unique and effective tool for building lasting relationships with your customers, prospects and referral sources.



Using call to action triggers to drive conversions

July 25, 2018

conversionsRecently, we reviewed some of the general best practices if you’re going to run Facebook ads. Now, I want to drill down a little deeper into one of the most critical tools you have to increase conversions – the call to action (CTA) trigger.

Bottom line – if your audience does not interact with your ad, you can’t convert them. You absolutely can and should use call to action buttons if that makes sense with your message. As you’re building your Facebook ad, the ad manager will give you pre-set buttons with a variety of options from contact us to download, learn more, sign up or request time.

I know it seems obvious but choose your CTA carefully. Match the offer with the button label, so people know exactly what’s at the other end of the click.

Don’t forget about calls to action that don’t require an actual call to action button. Your ad copy might invite the audience to click on the ad itself to take an action (give us your feedback, sign up for a free product, vote for a favorite, etc.) or to answer a question that you pose either in your graphic or text.

Another element of a successful Facebook ad campaign is social proof. Social proof is public, social engagement that other users can see. This includes likes or other reactions, comments, and shares of your ad. When someone sees your ad, they’ll also see who among their Facebook connections has already interacted with the ad. These small interactions can matter just as much, if not more, than the ad copy when it comes to gaining more conversions.

For most of us, if we see a Facebook ad with ten positive comments and a couple dozen likes, we’re much more likely to pay attention to the ad than if it had no reactions showing at all.

The power of consumer-generated reviews and reactions carry over to this channel as well. That’s why, according to a study by KISSmetrics, Facebook ads with some sort of social proof had 300% more conversions, and 50% lower clicks per actions and cost per clicks.

In addition, social proof has an additional, less obvious, benefit. Social engagement boosts your relevance score, which gives you a higher priority in the ad bidding system. It’s a great way to lower your ad costs.

Once the campaign is launched, the best way you can improve the performance of the campaign is to keep an eye on the metrics. One of the most under-utilized is the Relevance Score.

The Relevance Score is a calculated metric that monitors how your audience is reacting to a particular ad. The scores can go from 1 to 10, depending on the positive and negative feedback your ads receive. If your score is below a 5, you should do some testing to see if it’s your audience, the message or the visual that is causing the disconnect.

Choosing when your ads appear (based on your audience’s time zone) is another way to increase success. By watching which times of day perform the best, you can adjust your campaign to increase conversions and reduce your cost per lead.

If you’re running ads to build brand awareness or some other top of the funnel activity, then you aren’t measuring success by conversions, and this may be less important to your campaign.

But in most cases, you’re running Facebook ads because you’re trying to drive an action of some kind. You want to give yourself every advantage you can and how you entice the audience to click on your ad is the most important step.



Put your best Facebook forward

July 18, 2018

FacebookWith over two billion monthly active users, it’s clear that Facebook is a vibrant marketplace. Whether you only serve clients who live within a couple of miles of your brick and mortar location or you can sell to anyone on the globe – Facebook is a viable advertising option that you should consider in your marketing plan and budget.

Beyond the sheer size and engagement level of the audience, one of the most appealing features of Facebook advertising campaigns is the ability to create a custom target audience. With the Facebook Custom Audience Tool, you can upload a list of contacts (emails, phone numbers, etc.) and create a lookalike audience that will allow you to target others who fit the same profile.

Don’t have a list? No worries. You can segment your target audience by elements like zip code, interests, demographic information or a combination of them.

The ability to hyper-target to a finite audience also allows you to manage your budget more effectively. There’s very little waste when you do it well. Every ad is going to be seen by the audience you want to reach.

Before you start to create your ad campaign, you need to decide how success is defined. Do you just want to put your business on the audience’s radar screen? Do you want them to click on the ad to get more information? Do you want to drive them to a landing page where you could offer them a digital asset (ebook, audio file, checklist, etc.) in exchange for their email address?

Once you’ve decided on the desired outcome, you need to follow some best practices to help you get there.

Remember that the ads will be appearing on Facebook and Instagram, mingled with your audience’s newsfeed. You want your ads to be a part of their social stream, so pick visuals that are personal and engaging. Make sure your photos are crisp and a high enough resolution that it creates the right impression.

You can use a combination of photos, text, videos, sounds, and a slideshow to create your ads. Like any advertising channel, your success is going to depend on your ability to capture your audience’s attention.

Think about your own social network habits. We scroll through the news feed pretty quickly. Your headline needs to grab their attention, and you don’t want to create a blur of text. Focus your message on the essentials and remember, the ad’s job is to get the viewer to click to learn more. You don’t have to tell them every detail within the ad.

Video ads are quickly becoming one of the most popular ad formats on Facebook. Over 100 million hours of video is consumed on Facebook every day. Remember the 2015 ALS ice bucket challenge? That’s what the experts point to as the tipping point for social video. It’s only going to become more mainstream and popular.

One fact you need to keep in mind as you build out your video ad campaigns. You should upload and host your videos on Facebook as opposed to using a video that you’ve uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or any other platform. According to a study by Search Engine Journal, Facebook favors native video uploads, and those videos reach at least twice as many people and because of that additional exposure, will earn more likes, shares, and comments.

Next time, we’ll dive a little deeper into some more nuanced best practices so that every dollar you spend on Facebook yields the results you want. In the meantime, start paying attention to the ads that catch your eye and how you interact with them as a consumer.



AI’S emerging role in harvesting and connecting disparate data to improve customer engagement

July 9, 2018

Whether you’re an executive at the source of product supply, in the engine room of shopper attraction, or at the point of commercial transaction, AI-enriched data analysis has now become an essential to customer engagement success.  
Yet, one in four marketing, commerce and supply chain leaders admit that there is simply not enough time, budget or patience to unlock all of data’s potential, notes a new report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and IBM Watson Customer Engagement. The milestone study entitled, “Doing More with Data: Discovering Data-Accelerated Revenue Traction”, was released today. 
This turn to AI is not surprising considering the issues across data accessibility and quality that plague the organization’s ability to do much more with the data being amassed across systems. Thirty-seven percent of all executives surveyed feel that the current state of data accessibility is “hit or miss” at best, limited by selective connections across functions, systems and platforms. Once data is accessed, executives are further pressed to identify usable data as 39 percent of executives admit that data is often incomplete or only partially integrated across systems.
Among the top data issues executives highlight in the study:
  • 68 percent of leaders admit that second and third party data is only partially or barely integrated into current data systems, providing an incomplete view of a connected customer’s relationship with a product or brand
  • Dark data, defined for this study as unstructured, untagged and untapped data that has typically not been analyzed or processed, has frustrated stakeholders who are struggling to turn this data into actionable intelligence. Some 36 percent of respondents have yet to even tackle the issue of dark data while 30 percent admit that this valuable yet inaccessible data has emphasized how much the organization collects…but how little it actually uses.
  • Instead of streamlining operations, data has forced teams to spend massive amounts of time managing, manipulating or manually exporting and importing spreadsheets and reports. Other operational black holes of mundane tasks include content management and tagging (a time drain for 66 percent of respondents), journey mapping (41 percent) and forecasting (56 percent)
 “The question is not if data is important for any organization with customers…it is if the ability to do more with that data will mean the difference between engagement, profitability and success,” noted Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing at the CMO Council. “Each of the functions we surveyed have their own lens that colors and enhances their view into the organization’s data: Marketing, Supply Chain and Commerce will all interpret the subtle shadows and light differently, but in the end, they need to be looking at the same picture.”
While the disparate state of data has revealed gaps in both talent and technology, it is actually third “T” that has been most elusive: Time. Some 45 percent say that there are just not enough hours in the day to address all the transformation projects that are needed to activate data. But this is the exact issue that many executives hope new tools like AI can address and resolve, leveraging tools to ingest, analyze and recommend action in real-time, regardless of platform channel or functional owner.
Data for the study was compiled through an online survey in the second quarter of 2018. 
The 107 page full report, now available by visiting https://www.cmocouncil.org/thought-leadership/reports/doing-more-with-data includes a key summary of findings, including analysis of differences in reaction and perception across marketing, commerce and supply chain executives, in-depth best practice interviews with leaders from brands including Nordstrom, Lamps Plus, REI, Ryder, The Body Shop, AT&T, TD Bank and more. 
To learn more bout The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council visit their website here.

Marketing automation doesn’t mean autopilot

June 27, 2018

marketing automationMarketing automation is nothing new, but it is enjoying a renewed focus in conversations about how to stay connected to your prospects and customers. As brands get better about creating content and understanding that our potential customers watch and interact with us for a long time before they’re ready to buy – we have to be prepared to stay in touch in a meaningful, useful way for a lot longer than just the active sales cycle.

Just to make sure we’re all talking apples to apples — marketing automation is the tactic of using software to automate repetitive marketing actions like emails, enewsletters, responses to web inquiries, social media, and other website-driven actions.

We’re all the recipient of marketing automation every day. When we download a checklist off of someone’s website and over time, we start receiving emails related to that topic – that’s marketing automation. When we take a quiz and then are directed to a landing page where we can learn more about our results/possible solutions – that’s marketing automation. When we get a shipping update email in real time – that’s marketing automation. When we sign up for an email-based course, you guessed it. That’s marketing automation.

If you’re a B2B company, don’t think this is only a consumer-facing tool. In fact, it’s the B2B marketers that are really leveraging all of the nuances of this tool.

As you’ve heard me preach many times before – it’s about having the right strategy. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that once you pick the right tool, you’re all set.

Marketing automation is most often used as a lead generation tactic, and it’s a very good one. But it can also serve your current customers from a customer service point of view. Your clients often feel silence after the sale. You chased and wooed them before they bought but after the transaction, they sometimes get less attention. Marketing automation is a way to make sure that never happens.

A sizable part of the marketing process can be automated. Yet many companies and marketers tend to focus on specific tools or features they’re missing rather than on how their marketing automation platforms fit within their marketing strategies.

Today, only 10% of marketers are confident in their ability to execute comprehensive marketing automation programs as part of a larger marketing strategy, according to a recent a Forrester study. That’s not because they picked the wrong software; it’s because of the strategy. A sound marketing strategy should be anchored by clear goals. Those could include thought leadership, lead generation, gaining website traffic or something else. Without establishing these goals, you won’t be able to get anywhere — even with the best marketing automation software.

Remember that marketing automation isn’t a tactic in and of itself. It’s a mechanism to help you amplify the effectiveness of your marketing tactics, and you should be clear about what those tactics are. Are you going to be sending out newsletters or an email nurture campaign, or are you going to focus on collecting inbound leads by providing access to gated content? Be clear from the beginning, because all of your subsequent decisions will be based on maximizing these tactics.

Once you sort out all of that, you’re finally ready to find the right tool. But don’t even start looking until you’ve thought through how you want to use it.

If you implement marketing automation correctly, you can expect to see positive results relatively quickly. Don’t rush into it, though, especially if you don’t have any previous marketing automation experience. Take the time to build a sound strategy, and then invest the time and resources to really learn the platform you invest in. The results will follow if you stick with it.



How engaged are you in digital?

June 20, 2018

digitalIt’s hard to imagine there is an active business today that doesn’t have some level of digital connection and engagement. But the truth is that how business leaders define engagement and the level in which they invest (time, money, staff, etc.) in that engagement is an incredibly wide range.

Deloitte released a study for Connected Small Business US, which was commissioned by Google to explore the levels of digital engagement among small businesses (250 or fewer employees) and the impact of each level.

The study determined that there were general levels:

  • Basic (no website/no social media presence)
  • Intermediate (simple website/basic digital marketing)
  • High (advanced, mobile-ready website/multiple social channels)
  • Advanced (use of data analytics/mobile apps)

As the researchers reviewed the activity level and the outcomes that aligned with each of the four levels of engagement, they came to some very interesting conclusions.

Digital engagement increases revenue. Seventy-seven percent of businesses in the advanced category reported expecting revenue growth over the next year—almost double the percentage of businesses in the most basic engagement level. The reason the advanced level businesses were confident in the potential of growth is because forty-five percent of them had already experienced revenue growth over the past year, compared to only twelve percent of businesses identified as having a basic digital engagement. Thirty-two percent of the organizations in the high category reported revenue growth.

Digital engagement increases employment needs. When a business experiences increased revenue, it only makes sense that they’d need a larger workforce. So no surprise, the category of companies that reported larger percentages of revenue growth (high and advanced) also reported an increase in employment growth. The research also pointed out that people employed by a digitally savvy company “tend to be relatively more productive, with the average revenue per employee at digitally advanced businesses being two times as high as small businesses with a basic level of engagement.”

Digital engagement creates new products and services. Over the past twelve months, businesses at the basic level had less than a ten percent chance of introducing a new product or service. On the flip side, almost seventy percent of the most digitally advanced companies reported did. New channels mean new opportunities, and if you’re not there, you can’t take advantage of them.

So what does this mean for your business? It means that maintaining just the “table stakes” level of digital engagement is costing you opportunity, market share, and money. If you are at that level, which was defined as just having a simple website and not really using effective email marketing, social media or exploring the data that these tools can give you, you need to recognize the consequences. This should not come as a surprise to you but perhaps the outcomes that this study points to can serve as the wake-up call to drive you to explore how your business can step further into the digital realm.

This study emphasizes what common sense has told us for some time. The way we do business has changed. The expectations that the marketplace has for us have changed. We may be the only element that hasn’t yet changed.

For every business, whether you only serve a local audience or an international customer base, embracing digital strategies is a business must. Tools like marketing automation, social media, mobile readiness, and letting the data help you determine what your prospects are interested in and what you can offer to encourage trial and conversion is more business survival than anything else. Today, as the research clearly demonstrates, businesses that ignore that truth are simply behind in revenue, growth, and innovation. But pretty soon, without making some changes, they may just not exist anymore.



Where do AI and marketing collide?

June 13, 2018

AIAI or artificial intelligence is, at its simplest definition, when a computer is capable of mimicking human intelligence and making decisions/taking action based on that intelligence.

We’ve been slowly evolving to AI being pretty commonplace for years. I’m not talking robot uprising. I’m really talking about tools that help us analyze data and choices to predict best outcomes. Odds are, you are taking advantage of AI today and just didn’t label it as such. The iPhone’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are simple examples of AI. Both use machine learning technology to get smarter based on our choices and actions so they can serve our needs better with each interaction.

There’s no doubt, given all of the consumer data we have at our disposal today, that AI and marketing will merge in some pretty interesting ways. Granted, we’re talking infancy stages, but the truth is you are probably using it today without recognizing it.

Here’s a quick look at some of the elements of our work where AI is already present and will have an even bigger influence down the road.

Digital media: Given the almost infinite number of advertising options and the advent of programmatic media buying it’s easy to see how computer calculations and propensity modeling would save us time, remove the human bias and deliver projected outcomes. Results can be tracked, modeled, modified and improved upon in nanoseconds, as opposed to how long it would take us to do it manually.

Retargeting and ad targeting are two areas where AI is already playing a pivotal role and is getting better every day.

Content: As a writer, I will admit that I bristle at this idea. How can a computer possibly write as well as a human being? In many cases (at least for now) it can’t. A computer can’t generate copy that connects the emotional dots, but it can generate a report or content around factual dots. Check out Wordsmith.com and watch how they can take information like an earnings report or sporting outcomes and create very human-like copy.

There’s also the area of content creation. Can a computer watch what people view and buy and then use data to know what that consumer should be shown next? Amazon, Netflix, and Pandora are already showing us how effective this is. Why wouldn’t you want the same AI to be working on your website or other digital assets?

Who is your next buyer? This is a fascinating and sophisticated aspect of AI and marketing that many organizations have yet to explore. By using propensity modeling, predictive analysis can give you insight into who is ready to move from consideration to purchase and which of your existing customers is most likely to buy. It will also give you an idea of what kinds of offers (products, discounts, etc.) are most likely going to trigger that purchase decision.

From there, it’s an easy jump to dynamic pricing. AI would help you determine who needs a discounted price to convert and who is ready to buy without you having to give up part of your margin.

Earlier in the sales cycle, AI can help with lead scoring. The idea that a computer can sort through our prospect list and tell us where to concentrate our efforts is very appealing.

There are many industries and professions who are probably right to be a little nervous about AI. But for us marketers – AI is poised to be a huge advantage in how we work. It has the capability to help us measure and deliver ROI in a very efficient way, which allows us to spend even more time on the creativity and innovation sides of our business. Because in those spaces, we are irreplaceable.



Making your Facebook ads work

March 21, 2018

FacebookMany “serious” businesses dismiss Facebook advertising. They think they understand the audience, and it feels too frivolous for the work they do/what they sell. I’m not going to suggest that Facebook ads are for every organization. I don’t believe any medium is. But if you’ve dismissed it without doing your homework, you may be missing a huge opportunity.

More than 1.4 billion people use Facebook to connect with the people, events, and topics that matter to them. But the beautiful thing about Facebook advertising is the precision of their targeting. If you want to talk to all 1.4 billion users, you can. If you want to talk to the people within a single zip code or even a certain radius of your business, you can do that too.

You can also segment your audience by demographics, interests or who they hang out with online. Without a doubt, the specificity of their targeting is one of the biggest advantages of this particular advertising medium.

If you’re going to use Facebook ads, there are some ways to make it work even harder for you.

Track Facebook ad traffic in Google: Be sure to use Power Editor in Facebook for your ads. When you’re creating your ad, you’ll see a field that says add UTM parameters from the destination URL. When you do that, it will let you see the traffic your ad generates in Google Analytics.

It’s not about likeability: One of the biggest wastes of ad dollars is when people use Facebook ads to generate more likes for their business page. Use your advertising dollars to move someone further along your sales funnel. Drive them from Facebook to your website or some other sales generating site.

Automate with ease: There are tools out there like AdExpresso that will allow you to automate many of the optimization options you have available to you. With AdExpresso you can do A/B testing and store all of your media, so it’s handy for building new assets, easy to understand analytics that come packed with recommendations on how to reduce waste, increase conversations and lower your cost per click.

Use lead ads: Facebook ads used to have a lousy conversion rate on mobile devices. 63% of people who clicked on a Facebook ad did so from a mobile device. But only 34% of them converted (download, sales, etc.). So Facebook has added Lead Ads to solve that problem. Now, when a mobile user clicks on an ad, all they have to do is tap a couple of times on prompts and Facebook fills out the entire form. This is a relatively new offering, but it looks promising.

Use daily budget pacing: Historically, when advertisers elected to create ads with daily budgets, it meant Facebook would spend exactly that daily budget amount each day. Usually, spending exactly the same amount every day doesn’t produce the best results; for example, tests show that allowing daily spend to vary slightly from day to day (based on the different opportunities to show ads each day) leads to equal or better cost per objective than spending the same amount every day.

Facebook now makes it possible to handle your daily budgets better. Each day Facebook will spend, on average, the daily budget that you specify. Based on the different opportunities to show ads to people in your audience each day, on some days they’ll spend less, and one some days more. But in any calendar week (Sunday through Saturday), they won’t spend more than seven times your daily budget.

Before you dismiss Facebook as an advertising medium – do some experimenting. The cost of entry is low and the potential for most organizations is pretty impressive.