Posts tagged online adverting
School is in Session inside The Hub!

It's Back-to-School here inside The Hub! We're bringing you brand new Masterclasses and Training to kick start your fall marketing plan.
 

Is Q4 your time to shine?


Q4 and Holiday Season isn't just for Christmas Sales (although it's that's your jam, let's go!). It's a big time for many businesses as people are back from vacation, their kids are back in school, and it's time to get stuff done before the Holiday season. In this month's Masterclass I'm bringing you some GENIUS (if I do say so myself), ways to take advantage of the season and bring in some MAJOR Q4 sales.
 

Struggling to connect with your audience?

It could be because you're not reaching the right people. We've got Jessie McGath whose dropping some truth bombs on finding your ideal audience, connecting with them, and shifting your mindset so you can actually grow, and stop spinning your wheels.
 

Confused about all this Google stuff?
 

It's all good - you're not the only one! In the "Ask Hubble" podcast this month we're breaking down the different between Google+ and Google My Business (I know, why so confusing Google!?), as well as talking about how to get in front social media influencers and use them to grow your business online!
 

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

.S. School is session - time to up your marketing game!

Budgeting for Advertising - How Much Should You Spend?
How much you should budget to spend on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and GoogleAdwaords.

Whenever we bring up the topic of digital advertising we always get the same question, over and over again. How much does it cost? This is a tough one to answer. Knowing how much to spend on your digital advertising is really dependent upon your business, time of year, and frankly, what you have to spend. The great thing about digital? Even the smallest budgets can succeed online, which is especially helpful for small businesses that are priced out of the more traditional options, like newspaper and TV.  We've pulled together some basic guidelines on what you should be prepared to spend if you really want to start seeing your online ads make a difference for you. Again, remember these are just general guidelines and should be adjusted to fit what you find works best for your individual business (testing is always important).

Facebook
The big kahuna. The main one. The platform everyone wants to be on. With an estimated 33.76 BILLION (that's right, billion with a "B") expected to be spent on Facebook ads in 2017, both local and national advertisers alike know that this is the place to be. However, with so many options available it can be hard to know exactly what you should be spending on each of the different types of campaigns.

  • Like Campaigns - While guaranteed to get you likes, it can be a little hard to know if the people liking your page are truly interested in your business. Keep these budgets small, starting around $50 for a 3 or 4 day run. See how they perform and go through the list of who liked your page to see if any seem "off" or "spammy". Then wait a few weeks to see if engagement has gone up or these new likes are paying off.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $50, Expected Cost Per Like: $1

  • Boosted Post - Again, jury is out on whether these are effective or not so keep the boosted posts to only those things that are truly important. Limited your boosting to your own fan base can be beneficial to ensure you reach all the fans that you just can't get to relying on organic reach alone. Save targeting people outside of that existing fan base (those that already like your page) for a more traditional FB advertisment.

Total Spent Per Boosted Post: $10-$30

  • Advertisement - For more traditional advertisements (whether they be static image or video ads) start small here and gradually increase your budget over the course of a few days. Studies show that throwing large amounts of money at your ad off the bat actually ends up costing you MORE per lead in the long run. Another benefit of this strategy is that you can test different ads and target groups slowly with less money and then increase spend on those that you find are working for you. Plan on hitting a target of at least $30 to $40 per day (this can go up to hundreds of dollars per day if your budget allows) and being about to sustain that for a minimum of 5-7 days to really see ad impacts.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign. 
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Instagram
Another Facebook owned platform, Instagram is quickly being indoctrinated into the FB advertising fold. While they haven't touched algorithms around what's appearing in Instagram newsfeeds (yet), it's getting harder and harder to reach new users and followers without the use of ads. If you're adding Instagram ads on to Facebook ads (which you can do right through the Facebook Ads Manager), plan on following a similar budget and strategy as your Facebook ads.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign.
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Pinterest
Ahh Pinterest! The underappreciated and underutilized advertising platform, for small businesses especially. With the common misconception that Pinterest advertising is way too expensive and out of reach, not enough small business are jumping on this bandwagon. But we're here to tell you, it's WAY more affordable than you think! There hasn't been any evidence of needing to "start small" in Pinterest like you do in Facebook, but if it's your first time running ads on the platform it's always better to try testing with a smaller budget first to see if it's something that works for you. Plan on about $20-$30 per day (but feel free to go up from there) and about $100 - $500 per campaign. 

Total Spent Per Campaign: $100 - $500, Expected Cost Per Click: $.25-$1

Google Adwords
Once the king of all online advertising, competition is fierce. Google is THE search engine with the majority of searches done within it, it's no wonder advertisers are clamoring to get their brand in on it. However, with this one we like to say, “buyer beware!". While it can be effective, it's taking increasingly more and more money to outbid competition. In addition, users are getting very savvy to knowing what are "ads" and what is real, organic content. Latest studies show that about 60-70% of people searching tend to skip past the ads altogether and jump right to organic search. Good news? 30-40% of people are still clicking so there is still value in the platform, just be prepared to expand your budget.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $500 - $5,000, Expected Cost Per Click: $2-$15+

The Black & White Reality of Technology’s Place In Your Business’ Growth Strategy
Learn more about why digital marketing is so important for a small business in Rhode Islsand.

We live in a digital environment and what grew businesses in the past is no longer going to work moving forward.  Technology is a part of our everyday lives and social media is really just a slang term for how the majority of people communicate and consume information today.  There was a real shift in digital marketing in 2016, and as we’ve moved into 2017 there are some major realities that everyone needs to be mindful of, such as the importance of authenticity and transparency in creating organic content, as well as the critical nature of how and where you deliver that content.  Organic vs. paid reach is where the action is (which we’re super excited about) and the ability to remain open and agile will be the difference between success or failure when it comes to a company’s digital marketing strategy. 

Life, and business, shifts over time and change can be a good thing.  Stop and think about the changes that people, and businesses, experienced when the printing press was created.  How about radio and television?  Do you remember just a few decades ago when so many business owners thought websites, and the internet in general, was a fad?  Or, think about those business owners that understood the value of email marketing early on and had great success with that.  There were crazy open rates back then upwards of 90% compared to today’s average of 15-28% (depending on industry).  We’re just trying to illustrate that there are so many small to mid sized business owners out there that are still pushing against essential elements of marketing and growth strategies!

There’s more competition for attention now than there ever has been, and if a company out there wants to be heard by their identified target audience then they’ve got to figure out where that audience is putting their attention.  And, they need to also understand that when their audience is on these different platforms the messaging needs to be crafted specifically for them in that space.  It sounds like a lot and we’re not going to sugar coat it, it kind of is, but with the right strategy in place it can all be streamlined, efficient and even fun.  Understanding how to utilize technology to grow your business is paramount.  Creating great content then being able to distribute it in a way that your audience will want to consume it is the key that unlocks the door to engagement and reach. 

Ready to ditch the fear of the unknown and take the reins? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Self Awareness is key

Companies first need to really focus in on who they are, what they do and why they do it, then they need to create content that tells that story.  

Identify Your Audience

They need to clearly identify and understand who their target audience and where their attention is and/or how they’re consuming information.  

Remain Open and Agile

The work is not over yet, as this digital landscape is changing constantly and businesses must continue to experiment with where their audience’s interest and engagement is!  

Quality Content Matters

Today’s consumers are savvy digital hunters and they’re discovering businesses for the first time through Google searches or social media.  Smart marketers know that they have to focus on creating authentic quality content and customized messaging for the social platforms that have been identified as making the most sense for that specific business. Organic reach vs. paid reach is super important in this saturated marketplace and by understanding how to identify (and use properly) key words, key phrases and all the other important components of creating quality content is HUGE.  

Sell The Way Customers Want To Buy

That quality content then needs to be served up properly onto the different platforms, from a blog post on a website (a website that is set up properly as this is the foundation of a solid digital marketing strategy), to a carefully crafted video posted on YouTube, to the images posted on Instagram and so on let the amazing technology work efficiently and effectively to grow your business!  This is the tip of the iceberg and just a brief overview of how businesses need to embrace all the fantastic technology driven world that we are now living in and create digital marketing strategies that will help rank them higher and be seen by the people that want to buy whatever service or product they’re selling. 

How To Optimize Your Facebook Ads
Learn Hub Digital's quick tips on how to optimize your facebook ads.

Ok, so if you've had anything to do with Facebook in the past decade (that's right, Facebook has been around now for over 10 years!), you've noticed that it's gone through some major changes. What once was a mecca for small business owners who were looking for organic reach and inexpensive advertising, has now become a frustrating place of lost content just floating around with no one paying attention to it.

Algorithm changes over the past few years has significantly decreased the organic reach of business pages. It's gotten to the point now, where on average a business owner can expect that only 2% of the people who like their page will organically see what they've posted. As someone who spends a significant amount of time researching, creating and editing content to send out to the masses, that is a bummer. There's nothing worse than knowing you have something really important to say, without an audience to say it to.

Well, once you've mourned the loss of your organic reach (because trust us, it's not coming back), it's time to buck up and make the best of it. Despite some challenges, there ARE ways you can get great reach on the social media platform at a lower cost than other outlets, and those are Facebook ads. Trying them out? Below we're breaking down just a few tips to help you optimize your ads to ensure they're working the best for you.

1. Spend some time researching your audience and target them. When you're looking to target your ad don't just go by geographic area. Take some time to do some research on some of your existing audience's interests and likes. On Facebook you can target by general interests, things they've looked at on the web, and even other complimentary Facebook pages they've liked. Spending some time playing with the interest categories available for targeting can make a HUGE difference in your ad performance.

2. Pick the ultimate pic.  Ahh the ad image. This is always the most difficult (for many people) when designing an ad. The image is the first thing people will see when scrolling through their newsfeed so you want to make sure it not only makes sense with your content, but that it's attention grabbing as well. Find something with bright colors, interesting designs or a little bit of humor to ensure maximum results. And be sure to keep text to a minimum! While Facebook has loosened up a little on their restrictions, it will cost you more to run an ad with text in the image than one that doesn't have any. And be sure to keep it in the 1200 x 628 wide format so it fits the space nicely.

3. Start small with the budget. A lot of times people think the more money you throw behind an ad the better. However, recent studies have shown that dramatically increasing your budget will actually cause your Cost Per Click (CPC) to go up dramatically as well! Start your budget smaller (about $5 per day) and test it out over the course of a few days to see how it's working for you. Don't like what's happening? Go back and edit the image, text or both until you find the right mix. Happy with the results? Slowly increase your budget (No more that $5 per day) over time to increase the reach without increasing the CPC.

What is Everyone's Obsession With Live Streaming?

Between Google Hangout, Periscope and Facebook Live, it seems like everyone, and their mother, is live streaming. Celebrities are live streaming out at clubs and business owners are live streaming networking events. Being able to broadcast, in live time, what is happening around you, is giving brands, and the people behind them, the ability to connect with their audiences immediately in a way they never have before. Potential clients and customers instantly feel connected to whatever you're doing, even if they're 3,000 miles away.

Today we're breaking down the pros and cons of livestreaming to find out what everyone is freaking out about.

Let's start with the potential bad parts:

Cons

  • Copyright laws - Music playing in the background, and branded images on ads are everywhere. Even though you're not doing it intentionally, it can be difficult as a business owners to make sure your content is strictly your own and to avoid the legal ramifications of copyright laws.
  • Quality - While cell phone cameras are getting better and better, they still don't live up the high quality HD we're used to. Brands that normally produce high quality video may find the lower quality of live streaming a hinderance to their brand image.
  • The "Live" Factor - As we all know with live TV, ANYTHING can happen. Unlike live TV, there isn't a 5 second delay and someone sitting there with a buzzer. If something gets out of control, it can't be edited, and it can do some serious damage.

That being said, with great risk can sometimes come great reward. Let's explore the pro's.

Pros

  • Get Closer Than Ever Before - Live streaming allows you to connect and grow close with your audience like you've never been able to before. Pre recorded video or content will never be able to do that.
  • Timeliness - You can't get any more timely than the exact moment something is happening. Live streaming concerts, sports or other events can allow you to interact with your audience in a way that is extremely engaging and relevant.
  • Exclusivity - Giving your consumers an inside look into something, in live time, makes your audience feel like they're part of the "in-crowd". Unlike pre-recorded video, if you're not there for the live-stream, you can't go back and watch it later, making the content extra special and desirable.
  • It's Free - With a Facebook, Google or Periscope account, a brand can post FREE content for their consumers. This makes viewers happy, as well as increases the likelihood of them sharing and promoting your video stream and brand.
Should You Have A Personal Brand?
 
 

Recently I've been working on a personal branding class that I decided to take one day on whim. In case you don't know what that is, a personal brand is when someone markets themselves and their careers as a brand. That means that outside of Hub Digital, I would make steps towards branding myself, Amy Fields (or Amy Levesque if that's how you know me) as a marketing expert.

I decided to do this for a few reasons. The first is exactly what I said above. Since getting married, I've struggled with keeping my professional identity, while transitioning to my new married name. It wasn't until I went to change it, that I realized what a strong presence that name had when it came to my current and potential clients. I knew that if I was going to go by my new name, I have to create just as strong a connection to it.

The other reason I knew that creating a personal brand was important, was because I started to realize that my clients were hiring me, not Hub Digital. They were signing contracts and sending checks based on me, my personality and my knowledge of marketing. They could care less what the name of my company was, or what color my logo was. They wanted to hire someone they trusted, could connect with and knew would do the best job for them.

If your business is like mine, where trust and connection with you plays a big part in the purchasing (or hiring) process, then a personal brand may be something worth considering. By creating visuals, sayings and emotions around you, that can be that little extra push potential clients or customers may need when deciding.

A few things to keep in mind when considering your personal brand:

- What are a few key words or phrases that you want potential customers to think of when they see or talk about you? What do you want to be known for? Writing them down can help you remember and implement them in your messaging.
- What are some visual elements that you want people to associate with you? This can range from anything like colors and fonts, to iconic clothing or hair colors. People are much more likely to remember striking visuals so you have to give them something to remember.
- Are you using your authentic voice online? How a business talks and a person talks online is completely different. People expect businesses to be buttoned up, but they expect people to be real. Don't be afraid to be a little casual, vulnerable and authentic when sharing content online.

What Exactly Does "Hit" Mean? - Display Advertising 101 pt. 1 of 2

Being a business owner, you've most likely fielded a few calls from sales rep looking to get you to buy advertising from them. In an effort to stay open minded about growing your business and trying new things, you agree to schedule an appointment with that cool new website. On the day of the meeting, the sales rep walks in and starts throwing around terms like "hits", "UVs" and "CTRs" which leaves you more confused than before the meeting started. Sure the numbers sound impressive, but this all new for you. How are you supposed to be really sure you're getting a good deal if you don't even know what they're talking about? Lucky for you I'm here to break down all these digital terms, as well as give you some insider tips to buying online advertising I picked up from my years as a digital sales rep. You can thank me later.

  • Banner Ad - Display advertising on a website. This does NOT just refer to that long thin banner across the top of a website. It encompasses ALL different size and shape display ads on a website.

  • Paid Search - The purchase of keywords or phrases in an effort to show up #1 in search. These look like regular search results but have a small little box that says "AD" next to them. Typically you would place bids on keywords and would be charged when someone clicks on your ad. These can be very effective (since you're reaching people specifically searching for your product or service), however, be careful of spam bots or competition who may click on your ad multiple times in an effort to cost you money without generating any leads. The most used paid search option is Google Adwords. This is not to be confused with display advertising (see banner Ad above)

  • Hit - A single file or picture on a website that is delivered to a web server every time a page is visited. As an example, a single page on a website may have 10 pictures. Every time one person visits that page it counts for 11 hits (10 for the pictures and 1 for the HTML file of the actual page). This is the MOST overused and misleading term used by online sales reps. They may tell you their website gets over 10,000 "hits" per month. To someone who doesn't know better this is very impressive. However, each page of their website could have 20 different files on it (pictures, tables, javascript files, etc.) That means that "10,000 hits" is really only about 500 visitors came to the site. There is a HUGE difference in value there so know that you're in the know, don't let them fool you!

  • Impressions - How many times your ad was seen. This is one way you can track how your ad is performing. Knowing the number of visitors to a site is great, but what good does that do you if your ad isn't being shown to them? 

  • UV/Unique Visitor - One computer visiting the site one time during a specific time period. Asking your sales rep how many Unique Visitors their site gets in a month is a great idea. You want to make sure there is a good mix of new visitors and returning visitors. The Unique Visitor number is going to tell you that. A site could have 5,000 visits per month but could only have 1,000 Unique Visitors. While it's great that those 1,000 people are coming back to the site up to 5 times per month (more chances to convert), eventually advertising to the same people month after month will grow tiring for both your brand and the sites viewers.

  • CTR/Click-thru Rate - Your percentage of clicks vs. impressions. This is something that can be tricky to use to tell if your ad is working. As a general rule of thumb, people don't click on online ads, unless there is a really great offer that draws them in.  This doesn't mean online advertising isn't worth it! Just because someone didn't click on your ad, doesn't mean it didn't make an impression on them and stay with them long after they left that website. As a rule of thumb national average click thru rate is only .06%. This means that for every 100 people seeing your ad, you can expect only 6 of them to click thru. As long as your ad is performing right around that national average, don't get discouraged or place too much emphasis on this.

  • Branding - An advertising campaign based on simply putting yourself in-front of a community or target market. This campaign aims to show people your colors, logos, products and/or services who may not already know what you do. This does not include any offers or discounts.

  • Offer Based - An ad that includes an offer or discount in an effort to drive quick sales.

  • Lead Generation - A campaign specifically targeted to getting leads or retaining a customer's information. Usually offers a coupon code, free information, or give-a-way in exchange for contact information for follow up later.

Hopefully these have helped you begin to make sense of the digital advertising world. Make sure you come back next week as I'm breaking down even MORE terms, and giving you tips specifically related to different buying philosophies and where on a website you'll want to be. See you next week!