This week's In the Know we will look at:
- Turning Your Most Loyal Customers into Steadfast Brand Advocates
- Instagram’s Analytics Tools are Coming – Here’s How They'll Work
- How to Upgrade Your B2B Marketing Strategy with AdWords
- Small Business Owners' Favorite Digital Tools and Platforms
- 7 Steps You Need to Take Before Paying for Social Media Ads
Turning Your Most Loyal Customers into Steadfast Brand Advocates
May 15, 2016 by Martin Jones
Turning a young startup into a thriving business is no easy task, and it requires a long process of building up brand recognition.
In the beginning, no one will have heard of your company, and no one will care - so how do you get the consuming public to notice your brand and consider spending their money?
Eventually, if your products and services are good enough, you should find people who are fiercely loyal to your company, so much so that they’re willing to tell their friends and spread awareness for you.
How can you capitalize on their appreciation? How can you take these strong relationships and get the maximum effect from them? That’s an important goal. Once you establish a customer base, you want to grow it exponentially.
The Value of Relationships in Nurturing Brand Advocates
Customer advocates increase your marketing clout without breaking the bank. Entrepreneurial adviser William Mougayar notes in “7 Marketing Trends for Tech Startups in 2014” that we tend to spend a lot of money on advertising and sponsorships, but advocacy can be a lot more effective. It just takes time and the willingness to nurture your customer relationships. “Your advocates are probably the easiest group of people to establish a relationship with, because they are totally committed to your product,” Mougayar points out. “You just need to lightly orchestrate their actions in areas like referrals, case studies, reviews, and allow them to communicate their expertise to their peers.The Value of Relationships in Nurturing Brand Advocates.
ESTABLISHING A STEADY DIALOGUE
That’s a matter of responding positively to people’s reviews and encouraging additional communication.
You want feedback to be a continuous loop, not just a one-time thing. Once people engage the first time, you want to make them feel welcome so they keep coming back. Eventually, these people will turn into ambassadors for your brand.
HOW EMAIL MARKETING FITS IN
You might soon reach the point where consumers are willing to share their email addresses with you and continue the dialogue that way. Young recommends email campaigns as a powerful tool for engaging customers. She points to data from the “2015 State of Marketing” report, which showed that 72% of email marketers rate email loyalty campaigns as “effective” or “very effective.” Therefore, it’s important to nurture relationships via email.
“Include valuable, newsworthy, or money-saving content in your email campaigns to encourage subscribers to forward to their friends and family,” Young advises.
SPREADING THE WORD
Whenever customers recommend your company, you want to call attention to it. If the word is positive about your business, you want to spread it.
Social media can help you make the most of customer testimonials and other positive feedback. In “How To Put Testimonials To Work For Your Business,” marketing expert Allie Naughton advises sharing all new testimonials via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and your other social networks.
If you’re really lucky, a snowball effect will ensue - people will see all the positive comments, and they’ll feel compelled to share their own success stories.
“Remember, no one tells your story better than your customers,” says Naughton. “People want to hear what it’s really like working with you, and your existing customers can describe the experience better than anyone else - even you.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
- Commit to nurturing customer relationships as part of your marketing strategy.
- Respond to reviews in a diplomatic way, encouraging customers to continue their conversation with you. Engage customers who reach out on social media.
- Use email campaigns to provide value to customers (in the form of relevant content, notification about sales, coupons, and the like) and invite their feedback.
- Make sure to amplify any positive responses you receive. Post testimonials and other feedback on your website and social media channels.
Instagram’s Analytics Tools are Coming – Here’s How They'll Work
May 14, 2016 Andrew Hutchinson
Earlier this month, Instagram management tool Later.com (formerly Latergramme) provided a first look at the new Instagram brand profiles which are currently being tested among a select group of users. The new brand profiles include a prominent 'Contact' button, which allows you to directly e-mail the business or get directions to their store, a business categorization field, which'll help users find your brand, and improved location listings. -
And this week, Later.com also got their hands on some images of the new brand analytics options for Instagram. Included within the new business profiles, Instagram’s analytics options provide a range of new insights and tools to help businesses make better use of their Instagram profiles and gain more understanding of what’s resonating with their followers. Here’s how they work.
First off, Instagram’s analytics tools will be accessible from the front page of your brand profile – in the top bar of the screen, there’ll be a new analytics button to the right.
Once clicked, you’ll be taken to a new screen of analytics tools – Instagram’s adopted the Facebook term ‘Insights’ for the new option.
[One] of these tools is a listing of information about where your followers are located, geographically, and at what times they’re most commonly active on the app.
And [main] element is post analytics, with data on how many impressions each of your posts has garnered, which you can list by either the past week or the past month.
The main difference here is Instagram is showing you how many people saw your post, as opposed to how many people ‘Liked’ it, which provides additional context as to how your audience is responding to your content, and which of your posts are generating the best response.
How to Upgrade Your B2B Marketing Strategy with AdWords
May 13, 2016 by Callie Hinman
Neatly Organize Your Keywords and Ad Groups
One of the most critical elements of your SEM campaigns is the organization of your keywords. Here are the best practices to create ad groups:
- Group keywords with similar themes: For example, put all “software” keywords in one ad group, separate from “solutions” or “platform” keywords
- Divide informational keywords and transactional keywords: For example, “what is customer relationship management” versus “buy crm software”, or “do i need crm” versus “customer relationship management solutions”
Structuring your ad groups like this allows you to tailor both your ad copy and your landing page to best fit the keywords, and makes it easier to detect performance patterns and execute appropriate bid and status adjustments.
By grouping keywords by theme, if a prospect searches “crm platform” and is served two ads—one with the headline “Top CRM Software” and one with the headline “Top CRM Platform”—that prospect is more likely to click on the latter. Relevancy is key in every part of SEM campaigns.
Enhance Your Ads with Extensions
AdWords offers many ways to beef up your search ads with extensions, and you should use as many as possible. Here’s why:
- Your ads will take up more of that precious real estate in search results, pushing your competitors farther down the page
- Searchers can learn more about your company without clicking your ad
- You can provide links to additional landing pages
- Google rewards those who use ad extensions with higher quality scores, which means lower cost per click and, in turn, a lower cost per conversion
With ad extensions, marketers can not only include more information about the company (using callout extensions and structured snippets), but they can also include four more links in addition to the main landing page. This means you can offer five different conversion opportunities with one ad.
Use the Proper Landing Pages
B2B SEM campaigns traditionally use two types of landing pages: direct-response and content downloads. Both are equally important in paid search marketing.
Many marketers make the critical mistake of not taking advantage of content. They assume the best practice is to cut to the chase and simply tell searchers, “Let’s talk,” regardless of where the searcher is in the buyer’s journey. However, the actual best practice is to use paid search together with content marketing to start the lead nurturing process.
BONUS TIP: Feel free to have multiple conversion opportunities on your PPC landing pages. For instance, include a link to a gated PDF download of an industry report or eBook on a Contact Us page (example below). If a prospective customer arrives on the landing page but doesn’t want to chat right then, they can download the content instead, and you still capture their email address. Win-win!
Small Business Owners' Favorite Digital Tools and Platforms
May 12, 2016 by Ayaz Nanji
Which software programs and digital platforms do small business owners recommend most to their peers?
The businesses surveyed are all based in North America and employ fewer than 50 people.
WordPress, Mailchimp, Authorize, Google, Square, and PayPal are the most recommended digital brands by small businesses owners, the survey found.
Other key findings from the report:
- Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter all are trending positively with small business owners.
- Wave's free back office software is gaining popularity with small businesses.
- Yelp continues to be viewed very negatively by small business owners.
Check out this infographic to see how popular brands fared in 1Q16 compared with 4Q15 results:
7 Steps You Need to Take Before Paying for Social Media Ads
May 12, 2016 by Aaron Agius
1. Establish Who You’re Going to Be Targeting
You can’t create a social media ad, target it to “everyone”, and expect to see results. The best performing social media ads are those that are targeted at a very specific audience.
2. Decide How Much You Want to Spend
Advertising should not be an impulse buy. Instead you should be deciding how much you want (and can afford) to spend ahead of time. Failing to do so could result in:
- Underspending, or
- Spending too much too soon
Determine your budget before you begin using paid social ads and you will be able to distribute your budget fairly throughout the month.
3. Decide What You Want to Achieve
Your goals will determine the type of ad you’re going to create - especially on Facebook, where advertisers are spoilt for choice.
If you want increase your following you’ll probably want to promote your page, or potentially, boost a post. If you’re looking to promote a piece of content, you could boost a post, but you could also choose to “send people to your website”.
This is a decision you need to make prior to each new ad you create.
4. Optimize Your Conversion Funnels
When a visitor lands on your site via a paid social ad, where should they go and what do you want them to do next?
In order to maximize the value of the visitors you get via paid social ads, it’s important that a clear path to conversion is laid out for them once they land on your site.
Failure to complete this step risks wasting an otherwise qualified and targeted lead (a lead that you’ve probably paid good money for).
5. Decide How You’re Going to Track Results
We don’t all share the same goals when it comes to social media marketing.
Some of us might be looking to grow our followers.
Some might want to build their email list.
Some might be trying to increase sales on their website.
It’s important that before you begin paying for social media ads you determine what you’re aiming to achieve and how you plan to track your results.
6. Use Free Social Media to Test Your Ads
Before you begin paying for social media ads it makes sense to use standard (i.e. free) social posts to test subject matter, images, and copy.
Will your sample size of responses be very small?
But that doesn’t mean the number of likes, shares, and comments these posts receive won’t teach you a few valuable lessons that can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to creating paid ads.
7. Draft Multiple Ads
The best marketers are always testing - testing landing pages, emails, contact forms, and much more. Social media ads are no different. While it’s a great idea to monitor the responses your free social media posts get, the information you’ll gather is only useful up to a point.
To ensure you’re getting the very best results from your ads, you should be split testing them. To do that, you need to be drafting multiple ads.
You might want to change the images, your copy, or the ad type you use. That’s up to you. Whatever you choose to test, your goal is to establish which variation of that ad performs best for you.
Paid social media advertising is effective and great value for money, but like with most things in life, it pays to be prepared. If you want to maximize the ROI of your paid ads (and why wouldn’t you?) completing the above seven steps will serve you well.