Lemme break it down.
When I chat with clients, potential clients, and fellow solopreneurs for long enough, eventually I stumble on a pattern in the issues they have with marketing.
Here's one I've been hearing about: "Shiny Object Syndrome."
Here's how I approach time-management on a bad day:
- Write out a detailed schedule for a few days
- Stick religiously to the schedule for a few days
- Have a day where I don't stick to the schedule
- Beat myself up at the end of the day for not sticking to it.
- Feel overwhelmed. Give up on all schedules forever. Procrastinate.
Does this sound familiar?
It's not because I have employees. (I don't.) And it's wasn't after I started earning a certain amount of $$, either.
... I'll give you a hint.
Are you selling anything online? If you are, did you know you can hook up "E-Commerce" in Google Analytics with just a few clicks?
It is so easy that I'm surprised by how few people do it. Maybe it doesn't seem all that necessary. After all, you can tell how many sales you made just by looking at the data within your website or Shopify store, or whatever else you're using to sell.
You can tell how many people bought from you via your Instagram profile link, for example.
You can also tell which pins resulted in sales.
How do you enable it? Toggle the OFF switch to ON. Really. Here's how to get to the OFF/ON switch.
We know that 50% of content shared on social gets ZERO shares. So why should you keep sharing on social media when most of the content goes nowhere?
Bite the bullet. Learn how to use the Facebook Pixel and how it can provide info that helps you make really important business decisions that can both make and save you money.
Introverts have it rough at networking events. But you know who else doesn't like feeling super awkward about trying to find and connect with people at a big event who would be great business and career connections? EXTROVERTS.
The savvy marketers figured this out years ago. I took a little bit longer, but I'm here to tell you: stop trying to make this tactic work! It doesn't.
In my previous post, I talked about website visits: "An unspecified number of people visiting your site for an unknown amount of time, reading an unknown portion of its content and taking either no action or an unknown action. That's what website visits are. But, they can be useful. "
And so can video views.
In 2016, Facebook was obsessed with CRUSHING IT in the video department. They wanted to crush "IT" and they wanted to crush YouTube, Periscope--you name it--in the process. This fact is mildly interesting for personal use of Facebook and it's fun to futz with Facebook Live and all.
But it's really interesting for Facebook for Business and using Facebooks Ads to find customers.
Because video ads are really cheap. You must supply the video of course, but uploading a video directly to Facebook ads and then targeting the ad at cold (cold = they have never heard of you) traffic doesn't cost you nearly as much as promoting a blog post and getting a user to click.
Setting up this ad is relatively simple: Set the objective of the ad to "Get Video Views" and upload your video. You can even set up captions right in Facebook Ads Manager.
Depending on the target audience and the quality of your video
In a recent campaign I ran for a client who has almost no website traffic, we paid about 2.5 cents per view of her entire 40-second video.
If I had targeted the same cold traffic with a link to a blog post on her website, I guarantee you we would not have been 2.5 cents per click. We could have been paying more like 50 cents a click. That's almost 200% more, for those of you who like getting your mind blown by big sounding numbers.
Put another way, we reached 1,000 people for $25. If we had tried to get them to click to the website, it would have been more like $500.
But we haven't even gotten to the part I'm excited about! Here is why I'm really excited about this: we (you, anybody) can now use Facebook Ads' Custom Audience feature to create an audience out of video viewers. You don't need people to go to your website to make a Custom Audience out of them.
And you can specify that you only want to include people in your audience who watched 50% or more of your video. So you know you're not creating an audience of people who are getting counted because the video played for a second or two while they were scrolling.
This is a huge breakthrough! If you just don't have the numbers or the money to advertise clicks to your website to strangers, you may still be able to carve out a budget to create an audience of several thousand people who have demonstrated that they are interested in your topic.
Here's how to create the custom audience:
Choose Audiences from the top menu
Click the blue button in the top left that says "Create Audience." Then click "Custom Audience." Choose the Engagement on Facebook option. Then click Video. Here's where you get to specify a video audience that watched at least 50% of your video:
Once you've created this audience, you can build the ad that offers them the coupon for the free class. Just remember to target this video audience when you are setting up ad targeting.
To recap, the steps are:
1. Create an informational video (don't close with a promotion or try to sell anything). This is news your audience can use. Keep it to 1-3 minutes.
2. Buy an ad with the video and target cold traffic.
3. Create an audience out of the people who watched 50% or more of the video.
4. Re-market to them by buying a second ad where you target only them and ask them to do something that's a heavier lift, like sign up for your email list.
Questions? Leave them in the comments.
If you want help setting up this particular ad type, find out how to work with me.
Online tactics-wise, I think the most important thing I've learned this year is that website visits do not constitute the accomplishment of any business goal.
Website visits do NOT constitute the accomplishment of any business goal.
I wrote it twice because it seems to be quite difficult for some of business owners and nonprofit leaders to accept.
Not saying that website visits don't count for anything, or don't mean anything. But they are not a self-contained business goal. An unspecified number of people visiting your site for an unknown amount of time, reading an unknown portion of its content and taking either no action or an unknown action. That's what website visits are.
But they can be useful.
Here's one way: you can drive "cold traffic" to your website and make it into "warm" traffic.
Cold traffic is website visitors composed of people people who've never heard of you before but demographically or interest-wise appear to be the type of people who are your biggest fans.
Before I describe how to do this: you need to install the Facebook Pixel on your website in order for what I'm about to tell you to work. The Facebook Pixel keeps track of website visits. It does a lot of other things, but that's really all you need to know for the purpose of this tip.
So, let's say you are KidVentures. (I don't work for them but they just popped into my head.) You know a lot about your clients: they are
- who have kids between 0-4
- disposable income to take their kids to an indoor playground
- time to take them during business hours
- need to take them -- maybe they have more than one kid
Step 1: Share a post that links back to your website
If you have a blog post that you know is particularly popular, share that. Anything informational that appeals to this target audience will do.
(You can select interests and target by demographics using http://facebook.com/ads/manager. Don't use the "Boost Post" feature to do this. It doesn't have the targeting features.)
With this ad, make sure not to ask your audience to do anything more than click to read the blog post. Don't ask them to buy anything. Don't ask them to sign up for anything. Just click: that's all you need them to do. And make sure the article or post is on your website. Don't link to a news article about your company that's on someone else's website.
In the case of Kidventures, I'd advise them to write a quick article where they interview a parent who loves their Parent's Cafe, or ask the parent to guest-write it. They should share something that would appeal to their target market (see the bullets above). A post about the relaxing benefits of having a cafe on-site (with Wi-Fi!) might do the trick.
Step 2: Create an Audience in Facebook
Once you've published the ad, it's time to collect the clickers. In order to do that, you need to create a custom audience within Facebook ads. To do this:
Now, paste the URL for the blog post you used in your ad. (Make sure you OMIT http://, www, and the slash (/) at the end of the web address.) That's it!
This audience will automatically update with a new member every time a new person clicks on that ad.
So, now, you don't have these individuals' names or contact info. But you do have them in a list.
You can use this list to do a lot of the same things you'd do if they had signed up for your email list. How about offering them a coupon, huh? Kidventures? You can share the coupon in an ad that you create, targeting only the people on that list.
Or you can run an ad with an offer and a link to sign up for your e-mail list in order to get it. A lot of people explain this kind of ad very well. Here's one I like.
You can create ads that target as few as 200 people on Facebook. I would try to get your audience size to about 1,000 (depending on the type and price of the product you offer); then run this second ad, where you re-target the people who showed initial interest.
What you're really doing is re-targeting an audience that has already initially shown interest. I don't make this stuff up! Read more about this tactic from the Master.
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I was ready to do something. ... But what? Everything? Nothing?
If you try to "sell in one step," the very first time someone interfaces with you or your business in any way, you're "forced to sell too hard in your ad, which results in almost no clicks or sales."
Writing for your business can feel daunting, even if you've been doing it for a while. These are my tips for getting started.
1. Make a swipe file. Are you already doing this? I can't think of a writer who wouldn't (or doesn't!) benefit from looking for inspiration. Keeping a swipe file for the different types of writing you do is a great way to cut down on wasting time perusing the internet every time you need to write something. It's a great way for keeping you from falling down the black hole of Twitter/Facebook, too.
Here are some swipe files to get you started (or Google them if you don't see one you like on the list!)
2. Write down every good question. This tip is for bloggers. This is the best way I've found for avoiding that feeling of not knowing exactly what to write about. Either you can't think of anything, or you can't narrow down your topic.
If you're committed to writing once a week or more, the only way you can stay consistent is if you create a long list of topics in advance.
So, where do you get these topics? From your conversations with clients and colleagues. Every time they say something that sparks a discussion between you two, every time you give the same very good answer to a question you've answered 8 million times before, every time you tweet about a small moment or experience related to your workday, write down the topic and a brief description.
3. Start in the middle. Full disclosure, this is the first full sentence of the blog that I actually wrote; this sentence right here.
I didn't exactly start here. I started by outlining the blog--I know I'm going to write about writing down every good question and about keeping a swipe file (which you already read about, but which I haven't written yet.) The reason I haven't written those sections yet: after I outlined them I got worried and stopped writing.
I started wondering, "Will anyone care about what I have to say about this topic?" "Do the people reading my blog really care about this topic?" "This is not going to be that good--why am I bothering?"
I have had this issue my whole writing life. It hasn't mattered what I was writing. It's worse when you're hoping that people will read what you're writing (as opposed to hoping they won't read it, which is a state more common among writers than you might think).
When I start at the beginning, I have this kind of Pavlovian reaction of paralyzing fear that it won't be good enough for anyone to read. And I have to stop.
So, I started skipping to the middle.
I write as though I've already gotten the hard part out of the way and I just have to get this darn thing finished. This mental trick (if you want to call it that) allows my fingers to loosen up--literally--as I start typing out the meat of a single idea.
I guess starting in the middle is a kind of swipe file. Getting a meaty idea fully formed on the page means you're not staring at a blank page anymore. You just need to go back in and connect the ideas.
Ok back to the top.
Why me liking this video so much can help you figure out how to talk to your customers.
"Why doesn't anyone see my Facebook posts?"
I get this question a lot from clients, non-clients, friends, Romans, etc. And I understand why. You write a post telling people what is so great about your business, what you've been up to, something that really matters to you.
You do this because want to create a post that inspire engagement, that connects with your audience and help them remember you, right? Posts that make them love you, trust you, remember you, CHOOSE YOU!? Any then no one even looks at it???
When I managed the Facebook page of a nonprofit online resource with a following of about 250,000 fans, I thought about how to get people to look at our posts a lot.
We actually higher than average "engagement" (likes, comments, shares, and clicks on our posts). But I was always looking over my shoulder at the specter of the Facebook Algorithm.
It looks like this, right? In all seriousness though, we know that Facebook curates every single user's feed. It's the reason most people's Facebook posts (whether they be personal or business page posts) don't get seen by all of their friends and fans.
Another thing we learned while I worked on that awesome site's social media:
Facebook decides what each of its users sees, and it's pretty mum about the exact combination of factors it uses to make those individual decisions.
But there are still plenty of business pages that get PLENTY of engagement. So, we must know some things. Right?
- Use beautiful photos to get noticed.
- Or don't.
- Write short posts! The shorter the better.
- Or ... don't.
- Post links to your website.
- Or ... you get the idea.
Here's my point: there isn't one specific format for getting your Facebook posts seen by an audience who might really care about what you have to say.
What does your audience care about? What matters to them? Or, if you want to think about it like this:
What does your message do for them? What does it mean to them?
And this is where studying what others have done can be really helpful and important.
In fact, studying what other people do is the best way to make a list of what to test on your own Facebook page and other social media profiles.
So, here I've dissected a couple of Facebook posts. One that got a lot of clicks to the owner's website (which you can view here once you sign up for my list), and one that got a lot of comments on Facebook itself (which you can view here).
They are both great examples because they garnered lots and lots of engagement--higher than average for the profiles they came from, and higher than average across the entire social media landscape.
They are also great examples because they served a purpose for the business owners who posted them.
And they are great examples because they use completely different tactics. But I break down why they worked.
Test out these tactics for yourself! Let me know how it goes.
Click the images to download:
This one's an easy question to answer, right? You're so busy because you have SO MUCH TO DO.
I hear you loud and clear. I have so much to do, too. I am reading Million Dollar Consulting a little at a time. (I recommend it to just about anyone who wants to start any kind of business.)
The author, Alan Weiss, posits an underlying reason you may have so much to do that you feel overwhelmed.
But before he shares that reason, he lays out his "unified field theory for consulting success." (By the way, he is so confident that his book will hook you that he reveals the whole shebang on p. 26 of a 267-page book!)
The theory is six steps long.
Simple, he says, right? "So why don't people abide by the simplicity of excellent consulting and accelerate their careers?"
We get distracted. We set a plan for the day, for the week, for the year, and then we find something that seems easy to tick off the list, and we prioritize that instead.
Where does that impulse come from?
For me, it comes from fear. I'm afraid to set a course and follow through. What if it doesn't work? Who wants to play the long game and lose?
But I've started to learn my lesson about setting aside long-term plans to build my business week after week in favor of quick fixes and just taking any and all new projects that come my way because of the fear that I might not get more business if I say "no" to anything. I hope I'm phasing out the squirrel-chasing part of my business.
Reading Alan's description made me realize I'm far from alone in allowing myself to get distracted by pursuing projects that just don't fit their business models.
I just wonder, how many other entrepreneurs and consultants have felt like they're chasing squirrels while they're building their businesses?
Here's Alan again: "The 'squirrel' you see is seldom relevant to your day, is almost impossible to catch, and in the long run actually tastes awful."
"Done is better than perfect." Don't wait for perfect.
If I'm wrong, e-mail me or leave a comment! I don't think I'm wrong, though.