October 23, 2018

Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts—Which is More Effective?

By now you probably know that Facebook Ads should be a core component of your digital marketing plan. If they aren’t, we need to talk. After all, with over two billion people using Facebook every month, why would you not want to capitalize on the reach you could have with them? There is a massive market out there just waiting to hear about your products and services.

When I make this kind of bold statement about the huge benefits of using Facebook Ads, people often come back with comments and questions about the relative merits of ads and boosted posts. 
For example, they'll say:
“I’m already advertising on Facebook—I boost posts.”
I get this comment from 80% of the businesses I talk to about Facebook Ads. Obviously, there is a little confusion about what the two strategies are. I’ll start by saying that there is so much more you can do to generate attention on Facebook than simply boosting. And let me go on to be very clear about this: boosting is not advertising. Boosting, the way most businesses do it is vanity advertising.
"Boosting posts is not the same as advertising on Facebook! It only offers a fraction of the options—and wastes money." TWEET THIS
“What do you mean boosting is wasting my money?”
Yes, you can improve your post’s reach with boosting. But, that improvement is only superficial. With boosting, your targeting options are extremely limited. Yes, you can choose behaviors and interests, demographics, and geography. But, you can’t use your custom audiences.
If you take away only one point from this article, please let it be this: You should have your pixel installed. You should be building custom audiences based on your website traffic, your Facebook page and post engagement, your Instagram traffic, and your email lists. And you should be creating Lookalike Audiences. Period. This is how you get real results with Facebook Ads. And unfortunately, boosting does not allow you to use any of these audience options.
“I want to get more exposure on my post—what should I do if don’t boost it?”
You create an ad with it instead! Boosting only gives you two options for your objective—website visits and engagement. Within Ads Manager, you can pick an objective and maximize it: awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, conversions and more.
Even better, when you're building campaigns in Ads Manager, you can more directly follow the Buyer's Journey to match your campaigns to your audience's specific needs.
“What else can you do with Facebook Ads?”
In a word, plenty. Here are just a few of the features you can—and should—take advantage of:
Placement Options
Facebook can automatically place your ads where they’re likely to be most effective. However, you also have the option of choosing where your ads are shown. This includes the desktop and/or mobile News Feed, Instagram, Instant Articles, and other choices.
TIP: If your audience is large enough, split test your placements so that you control the delivery, not Facebook. Nine out of ten times, they will feed to mobile and sway your results on you.
Lookalike Audiences
One of the absolute best things about Facebook Ads is that it will help find your audiences for you. Once you create your own custom audiences based off of website engagement, email lists, Facebook Page engagement and Instagram, let Facebook do the hard work of finding more people to target.
Also known as Ad Scheduling, this feature allows you to turn your ads off and on automatically throughout the week on a recurring schedule.
Create Custom Conversion Tracking
The Facebook Pixel lets you track standard events that happen on your website—View Content, Complete Registration, Lead, Add to Cart, Purchase, etc. Instead of only using the 9 Standard Events, think of custom conversions as a way of enhancing your tracking. You can build up to 40 custom conversion values by combining the events with specific URLs visited to hypertarget.
Create Super Duper Custom Audiences
What if you want to be uber precise with who you are targeting? What if you want to serve a Middle of Funnel ad to an audience who has read a specific blog and viewed one of your service pages...twice? No sweat with custom conversions. (Sorry...you may be seeing some of our ads soon.) 
How do Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts Compare? Simply put, there is no comparison! 
If I seem overly passionate about this topic, it’s because there’s a good reason. Companies that believe they’re doing enough on Facebook by simply boosting posts are, in all likelihood, leaving money on the table...or throwing it away. The entire premise of Facebook Advertising is to be extremely strategic and precise. Maximize campaign objectives to follow the buyer's journey. Build hyper-targeted audiences. Nurture leads and builds raving, loyal fans.
Written by: Ali Parmelee

October 10, 2018

5 Ecommerce Secrets the 'Experts' Aren't Willing to Share With You

The days of everyone buying the items they need from a brick-and-mortar shop just down the street are long gone. Instead, ecommerce has continued to grow into an impressive juggernaut, experiencing 24.8 percent worldwide growth in 2017, with Amazon alone recording a net revenue of $177.87 billion.

The days of everyone buying the items they need from a brick-and-mortar shop just down the street are long gone. Instead, ecommerce has continued to grow into an impressive juggernaut, experiencing 24.8 percent worldwide growth in 2017, with Amazon alone recording a net revenue of $177.87 billion.

1. Build a pre-launch audience.

Far too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of setting up their store and only beginning their marketing after launch. The problem, however, is that digital marketing efforts often require a bit of time before they start delivering the desired sales results. In the meantime, you'll be paying web hosting fees and other expenses without the sales revenue to cover it.
Instead, you need to start your marketing early by building a pre-launch audience. We see this happen all the time with Kickstarter campaigns that collect funding and build buzz before the project is ready.
Even if you aren't creating a completely new or original product, you still need to spread the word. Social media contests, product giveaways and email list sign-ups can all help you build an audience so your store can make sales on opening day.

2. Focus on the customer lifetime value.

Converting customers is hard. In fact, most estimates put the average conversion ratearound 1 to 3 percent. Because of this, you need to make every sale count. You won't be in business long if your average customer only spends a few dollars.
To succeed in this area, you need to focus on the customer lifetime value (CLV), rather than just the initial sale. Naturally, this requires that you deliver a quality customer experience for that initial sale. But, it also means you need to do some follow-up.
One of the best ways to do this is through email marketing. A quality email campaign allows you to follow up with customers about their initial purchase, while also reaching out for holidays and other special shopping seasons. Increasing your CLV will lower your cost per conversion and help you generate lasting sales results.

3. Leverage the power of remarketing.

Most ecommerce professionals invest a fair amount of their budget into marketing, with the goal of getting new customers to visit their site and make a purchase.
But, what about the people you've already convinced? If you aren't targeting them through remarketing campaigns, you could be missing out on a significant profit.
Repeat customers aren't only more likely to buy from you again in the future -- they also tend to spend more money. Studies have found that repeat customers have a 60 to 70 percent chance of making another purchase in the future -- numbers that far outperform ecommerce's typical conversion rate.
Make sure your Facebook and AdWords campaigns specifically target those who have already visited your site to ensure a stronger marketing ROI.

4. Let your customers do the talking.

Building a strong brand identity is an absolute must because it allows you to form an emotional connection with your target audience. When you're able to cultivate strong relationships with your most passionate customers, you can then leverage their enthusiasm to spread word of mouth for your store.
As studies have consistently found, few marketing methods are more trusted or effective.
The thing is, your customers won't always do this word of mouth marketing on their own. You often need to provide some extra motivation. Don't be afraid to reach out to your top customers with personalized messages asking for a testimonial, or simply to get their input on your products and services. Use social media contests to build enthusiasm and spread the word.
The more you do to personalize these interactions, the more likely your customers are to become true "brand ambassadors" who drive new business to your store.

5. If you choose to do dropshipping, don't botch it.

Dropshipping -- the process of having your product sent directly from the manufacturer to the consumer -- has simplified sales for many ecommerce professionals. However, it isn't without its own potential pitfalls.
The most common issues I've seen with dropshipping include slow shipping times, no tracking numbers for your customers and low-quality products.
All of these can completely kill your reputation with your customers. Because of this, it is essential that you perform a quality check of your supplier's products before you begin dropshipping. This way you can have confidence that your products live up to your brand promise.
For shipping, select a quality fulfillment company that offers a trackable courier solution. This way, customers won't have to endure lengthy delays, and they'll always know when their order will arrive.
Building a successful ecommerce brand isn't always easy. I should know -- I've seen my fair share of startups fail after their initial success. But, by incorporating this knowledge that I've gained from my past efforts, I've since been able to launch several successful stores and generate real, lasting revenue -- so can you.
Written by: Steve Tan
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