Is Your Businesses’ ROI Suffering Because Of This?
A/B testing is a standard tool for success in today’s digital age. It allows you, the client, to find out for yourself what works best for your customers and your goals. It takes the guessing out of the equation, and allows you to make decisions based on hard fact and proven results.
An A/B split campaign funnels your customers to two different testing options and compares the results. The A version is an original, controlled option; while the B version is the variation option.
A/B testing is an invaluable method that has no downside. It is beneficial to any type of business, no matter the industry, size, location, or audience. Testing is not so much a procedure as it is a mindset. If you’re spending money on PPC Adwords, testing is the only way you can hone in on the most effective keywords and maximize your budget. Not sure whether to send your email blasts at 9am or 10am or 3pm? Test it. Wondering if your customers prefer your old website design instead of the new, slicker design? Conduct an A/B test!
That’s why Protocol Red employs split testing in everything we do. We work hand-in-hand with the client to identify the objectives and goals we want to accomplish, and we set about conducting non-stop testing to continually hone in on what resonates the most with your customer base.
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THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF FACEBOOK ROI IN 2017
It seems like it’s been around forever (although I still remember managing Myspace pages for businesses; but that’s a story for another time). For any entrepreneur with their own startup or small business, creating a company Facebook page is one of the few must-have requirements. Many businesses rely on their company Facebook page in lieu of a website. There was a time when Facebook first burgeoned onto the mainstream scene that many businesses considered the number of ‘likes’ their page had as the ultimate status symbol.
My, how times have changed.
The past 12-18 months have seen the Facebook honeymoon come crashing to a halt. Relying on college interns to post funny memes on a regular basis just doesn’t cut it anymore. With all the continuing headlines about the dwindling impact a “like” has nowadays, it’s easy to understand why you would be sitting there dazed and confused.
Well, the past is the past. We’re here to look ahead and point you in the right direction to maximize your Facebook ROI in 2017. Because no matter what you hear, there is a tremendous ROI opportunity to be had with Facebook in the future. You just have to know where to spend your time and money.
So let’s look at the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY of Facebook in 2017 for startups and entrepreneurs. As a special bonus, we’ll even reveal the SECRET to ROI SUCCESS for Facebook in the next 12 months.
Despite the doom and gloom you may hear about regarding Facebook’s reach, there is still plenty of ‘good’ out there when it comes to this social media mainstay. First, no matter how “uncool” or “old” Facebook may be to some user segments, it still is hands down the #1 social media platform in the world with over 1 Billion users visiting it every day. While the younger audience segments are flocking to Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook still delivers a tremendous opportunity for any business looking to showcase their brand to an audience segment.
While Facebook is no longer the new kid on the block, they are continually pushing the limits of future technology and features. The majority of users utilize Facebook’s mobile app, which is a key factor to their continued success moving forward. Virtual Reality, the next big thing in consumer technology, was introduced to Facebook in May 2016 and is expected to grow substantially in the near future.
Facebook offers many user-friendly features and settings that allow a business to showcase their product or service in a compelling manner. For example, you can personalize the call-to-action button in your profile page based on the type of action you want your users to take. For example, you can have them contact you, download a free offer, etc. You can also gather valuable insights into the behavior and demographics of your page followers from their analytics metrics. Finally, you can still use your page as a bulletin board posting the most relevant and topical news and content surrounding your business or industry.
There are also a number of advantages that local business can and should capitalize on to increase engagement. Local Facebook pages have 5x the reach, 8x the engagement level, and 40x the overall impact that regular business pages have.
While it’s easier for a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) business to create engagement on their Facebook page, there are plenty of tactics that B2B (Business-to-Business) pages can pursue to make an impression with their followers as well. Plus, there are free tools available to specify which types of followers will see your posts, to increase the ratio of engagement and interaction your posts get.
When you are posting content to your Facebook business page, always choose quality over quantity. Facebook has changed their algorithms so that the more people who really love your content and engage with it, the more likely they are to see your content again in the future.
When businesses and publications bemoan the death of Facebook’s impact, they are referring to organic reach.
Facebook defines organic reach as “the number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event.”
In plain English, think of organic reach as the amount of engagement and interaction your post garners without you having to spend any money on it. You probably noticed how Facebook slowly moved towards the “Boost Your Post” offerings. This is the revenue model Facebook pursued, and the reason the organic reach for businesses has dipped to almost non-existent.
OK, time for the really bad news!
All the people claiming Facebook is dead for business in terms of organic reach are correct. It is dead. Case in point: your Facebook company page now has a less than 1% organic reach. That means if you have 100 followers, and you post something to your page, only 1 person will see that post initially. If that person does not comment, like or share that post, then you’re screwed. You’re only option is to pay Facebook to “boost” that post, so you can get more exposure.
Even worse, the power of “likes” has plummeted as well. According to a study by SocialSamosa, only 1% of users who like a company’s Facebook page will actually visit their page.
Which brings us to the ugly truth about Facebook in 2017.
The age-old question of “do Facebook ‘likes’ deliver any kind of ROI?” has been answered in an astoundingly loud and clear fashion.
Facebook ‘likes’ offer little to no true ROI in 2017, for the reasons we stated above.
1. Facebook deliberately limits the amount of your followers who will even see your content (less than 1%)
2. Those who do ‘like’ your page are 99% likely to never visit your Facebook page again
This is where many entrepreneurs and startups are getting ripped off, even to this day! Marketing agencies across the country are promising tremendous brand exposure, charging $2,000 – $5,000 per month, and when it’s all said and done all you have to show for it is a few thousand Facebook ‘likes’. Which wouldn’t be that bad, except that your actual posts have zero likes, comments, or shares. So that means all the money that agency charged you to grow your followers was literally worthless because they are not engaging with your content whatsoever.
There are still companies out there who will offer to “sell” you fake ‘likes’, to help you feel less insecure about the small number of followers your business page has. Again, like with SEO, this black hat technique is a waste of money that will hurt your brand and reputation in the long run.
Do not EVER spend one penny on Facebook ‘likes’. There is no ROI in it whatsoever.
THE SECRET TO FACEBOOK ROI SUCCESS IN 2017
You may be wondering what value Facebook could possibly deliver your startup business at this point, after all this doom and gloom.
Well, the great news is that there are two very clear venues where Facebook will deliver tremendous value for your company in 2017.
1. Facebook Ads
I. Facebook Ads
Remember, when it comes to organic reach, Facebook is worthless, and you should spend NO time or money on ‘likes’. However, paid advertising is a different story completely!
Again, because Facebook is the largest social media site, and because there is so much invaluable data regarding each user’s demographics, interests, etc., Facebook offers the unique ability for you to specifically target display search advertisements to exactly the specific audience segment you desire, more so than any other platform (including Google).
Selling used violins? No problem! You can run ads to people in the age range you want, who expressed an interest in violins, composers, etc.
Want to drive more business to your local gym? It’s simple!
And remember how we stated that Facebook skews older than Snapchat or Instagram? Well, Facebook acquired Instagram, so you can actually run ad campaigns on Instagram from your Facebook Ads account as well!
There are a variety of different ad platforms that you can choose from, including:
• Page post engagement
• Page likes
• Clicks to website
• Website conversions
• App installs
• App engagement
• Offer claims
• Video views
• Local awareness
And just like Google Adwords, you can run split testing on your ads to determine which headline or image works the best. You can pause or end campaigns whenever you want. You can set your own budget, at your own pace.
All of these characteristics are exactly what a startup should pursue with paid advertising. You are throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Facebook advertising allows you to test out campaigns, offers, calls-to-action, etc. and adjust accordingly. It truly offers an ROI unlike any other digital advertising channel in 2017.
The power of video on Facebook has exploded, and will only continue to dominate in the next 12-24 months. Facebook has seen a 75% increase in video posts from 2014 – 2015. Users watch more than 8 Billion videos every day on Facebook. Whether you are posting non-paid, ‘organic’ content; or running paid ads, video is the can’t-miss medium that you need to be employing.
Facebook is very aware of the success that Snapchat and Instagram have amassed. And they are very aware of the power that video plays in this relationship. Facebook has been very concerned internally with the rapid decrease in unique postings on their site over the past few years. The majority of posts are actually just re-posts or links to stories. Fewer people are actually sharing updates on their lives or posting unique content about their lives. And Facebook knows that is the key to engagement.
That’s where video comes into play.
Video is engaging in a way that text or even photos are not. This explains the big push towards Facebook Live, and even their 360 video offering.
Facebook is so keen on promoting video, that if you run a Facebook ad that has video in it, your ROI will skyrocket beyond what it normally is with a standard ad. If you conduct a Facebook Live stream, Facebook will boost the exposure that stream receives beyond what any other type of post would get.
The key is to embed the video directly into Facebook. Don’t just post a link to a video on YouTube. Actually save the video to Facebook and then post it. Your organic reach and engagement will skyrocket as a result.
Facebook organic reach is dead. Long live Facebook ads and video!
Startups and small businesses need to be smart with their marketing and advertising budgets. Don’t waste your resources on ‘likes’. Focus on crafting compelling Facebook ads with engaging headlines, captivating calls-to-action, and relevant landing pages. And be sure to harness the power and opportunity that video offers, because it won’t last forever!
Ready to learn how to see a positive ROI from Facebook in 2017? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation today!
Imagine this scenario: I’m browsing the internet, and I happen to come across your website on Google. I read the meta description, and decide to click on your site to take a look and see if you have what I want.
The second I open up your website, I’m bombarded with a pop up window asking me to subscribe to your email newsletter. Really??? I don’t even know who you are or what you’re about, let alone if I want to hear from you on a weekly or monthly basis. This is a clear example of why pop-up ads have such a bad reputation. When they’re done right, pop-up ads are an invaluable tool that can dramatically increase conversion rates, newsletter sign-ups, etc. However, that little caveat “when done right” is the critical piece to the puzzle.
So, if you are guilty of annoying your visitors like this, what can you do to fix this?
First, lets review the different categories of pop-up ads, and when/how they appear:
• ENTRY POP-UP ADS – appear when you first land on a website or web page
• TIMED POP-UP ADS – appear if you’ve been on a page for a certain length of time
• CLICK POP-UP ADS – appear when you click on a specific button or section
• SCROLLING POP-UP ADS – appear when you scroll to a certain section on the web page
• EXIT POP-UP ADS – appear when you show ‘intent’ to leave the web page or website
Let’s stick with our specific scenario for this post: ill-timed entry pop-ups. Can they work? Like all pop-ups, yes they can. But this specific type of pop-up is so easy to get wrong. The timing of it places it at the epitome of an intrusive, unwanted disruption that will be ignored immediately.
So, what’s the solution?
How do you still increase sign-ups or conversions with the valuable pop-up tools in a way that doesn’t annoy them as much?
Instead of hitting them up when they first enter your site, wait until they have done everything they want to and use the EXIT POP-UP.
Here are a few standard best practices:
• Use compelling copy with a strong call-to-action.
• Keep it short and sweet.
• Offer a relevant piece of content or value.
• Avoid more than a few fields of information if you have gated content (Meaning, if you ask for their name and email in order to download something, that’s fine. But on this type of ad don’t ask for a ton of fields of information.)
• Make sure there is a very clear, obvious way for the user to close the ad.
• Remember not to go crazy with pop-up ads all over your website. Balance is critical.
Like everything digital, best practices are just that: industry averages. In order to discover what works best FOR YOU, make sure you are always conducting A/B testing.
Also, there are a number of ways to execute exit intent pop-up ads. However, if you’re new at it, it’s best to utilize an existing vendor such as www.hellobar.com (they have FREE options and it’s incredibly easy to set up).
When in doubt, put yourself in your web visitor’s shoes.
If you need help improving, or even setting up, pop-up ads on your site, give us a shout at email@example.com for a free consultation.
SOLVING THE STARTUP MARKETING DILEMMA
One of the dilemmas that startups face early on is how to create awareness for their service on a shoestring budget. It’s a little like the cart and the horse. How can a new business afford effective marketing and advertising unless they get more customers, and thus more revenue? And conversely, how can they get more customers if they don’t have money for marketing and advertising?
This is a legitimate question that most startups struggle with.
The answer, however, does not lay in the horse. Nor does it lay in the cart. The solution is actually neither one of these.
It’s easy to get so caught up in worrying about new businesses that we fail to recognize the golden opportunity sitting right in front of us: our existing customers!
Even if you only have one existing customer, that one customer presents a high-quality opportunity to spread the word about your services to their network. Whether it’s word of mouth, through their social media networks, or in other ways, every single customer you already have should be carefully groomed to grow into a dedicated brand evangelizer for your business.
THE VALUE OF REFERRALS
No matter what you sell or who you sell it to, customer referrals represents one of the most effective advertising tools that exist. Which makes complete sense when you think about it. If you’re looking for a cleaning service company to come 3x a week and clean your office, what would be a more convincing tactic to convince you to use a company? An ad you see on TV, or a referral from a colleague? The referral will be significantly more impactful and persuasive every time because it is coming from a credible source. Also, it’s providing social proof to the other person.
Of course, you can’t expect your customers to do this automatically. Sure, if you have a great offering that goes above and beyond, you will (hopefully) get a good amount of organic referrals from your existing customers. But unless you make your customer base aware of your requests, you cannot expect them to do anything about it.
Remember, the key here is to be transparent and ethical. We are not espousing bribing or other unethical tactics. It can be as simple as telling every customer as they complete their purchase that referrals are how you get most of your business, and you would really appreciate if they could keep you in mind for any of their friends or colleagues.
Automated email campaigns are tremendously effective for this.
The point is you have to ask. Similar to when you are in Sales; you have to ask for the sale at some point. Recognize the tremendous value your current customers can provide you by significantly growing your customer base at no actual expense to you.
KEEP IN MIND
Having said all this, you must understand that if you are asking this of your customers, you owe it to them to deliver an outstanding offering that they will feel excited sharing with their network. If not, this strategy will never get off the ground, and the only person you will have to blame is yourself.
Again, the reason this is so valuable is because it allows startups with little to no marketing budget to increase revenue in new ways at no expense.
So take a moment to think about what tactics you are using to create brand evangelizers out of every customer.
Need help creating and implementing a Referral program in your startup? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.