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The 5 Core Stages Of The Buying Cycle

Identifying and developing the right content for your campaigns is a challenging task. If you push the wrong content to your viewers at the wrong time, you risk sending the wrong message and missing out on potential sales. We’ve helped hundreds of brands grow with paid ads and have developed a simple, go-to list to identify which content is best for each stage of the buying cycle and turning ad viewers into customers.

Before we dive into the best types of content for each stage of the buying cycle, let’s discuss the cycle itself. 

When running ads, your customer flows through what is called a buying cycle. This buying cycle or customer journey is the process of starting as someone that doesn’t know about your brand or product to become a fan or first-time purchaser. 

Understanding the buyer’s journey improves your ability to push the right content to them at the right time, increasing the likelihood of generating a sale. Below is an overview of the five places we should be targeting our customers with ads to drive sales.

  1. Cold Traffic (no engagement with the brand) 
    • People that have never seen or heard about the product/service
  2. Social Engagement (no website action)
    • Liked social page, commented, follows you but has never been to the website
  3. Website Engagement (no attempt to purchase action)
    • Been to the website but hasn’t attempted to purchase or convert
  4. Attempt To Purchase Action (no checkout)
    • A person has attempted to purchase but did not complete 
  5. Post Purchase (value add)
    • People that have made at least one purchase with you

Finding Winning Content for Each Stage

The 5 stages of the buyer’s journey are the foundation for successful campaigns, providing the roadmap for your ad copy and creatives. 

One of the keys to building winning campaigns is to test everything. Once you’ve found that a creative performs well at one stage of the funnel, don’t be afraid to test it at a different stage to see if it succeeds elsewhere.

Middle of Funnel (MOF) and Bottom of Funnel (BOF) creatives should be a mixture of User Generated Content (videos and images from your customers), trust-building content you have created, and for the Bottom of Funnel, essential creatives to encourage users to return and purchase again.

10 Middle of Funnel Content Types You Should Be Using

1. Unboxing Videos

Show how the product gets delivered, showcase the branding experience, and show and discuss the product.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • For colder audiences, the best performing unboxing content is concise (10-15 seconds). When a customer has a deeper interest and understanding of your brand, longer videos can perform better (30-60 seconds).

2. Reaction Videos

Show people’s reactions to receiving the product themselves or as a gift. Capturing the excitement from these moments is super engaging content.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • Great if you’re able to source quality user-generated content.
  • When creating reaction video ads, we recommend starting with a clear CTA in the first 3 seconds and not letting the full video exceed 30 seconds.

3. Competitor Review Videos

Compare your product to a competitor’s or discuss why your product is superior.

  • BOF winner (sometimes MOF)
  • An opportunity to demonstrate how your product is better and what makes your brand unique.
  • When developing product comparison videos, ensure you showcase your brand personality to be more relatable and keep the viewer’s attention.
  • Videos of this type are best between 30-90 seconds.

4. Product in Use Videos

Show different angles and features of the product in use.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • Often 15-30 seconds and identify the core customer problem and how your product solves it.

5. Customer Collage Videos

A video that combines all the different elements above into one video, including short videos and photos from customers using a product.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • Similar to reaction videos, mixing short clips of customers using the product adds credibility and trust in your brand. This is because a potential buyer sees other people just like them using your product and enjoying its benefits.
  • These types of videos are great at 15-30 seconds, providing enough depth without being too long.

6. Full Product Experience Videos

These videos are from a customer, showing them receiving the item, discussing the brand experience and why they purchased the product, what made them buy it, how it compares to competitors and what they love about it. They also demonstrate the product’s key features and benefits and how it solves their problem.

  • BOF winner
  • These videos work best when a customer has engaged with the brand multiple times. Given that these videos are much more in-depth than all other kinds of creatives, we need a customer to have a high interest in learning more.
  • Full product experience videos have shown to perform best when between 45-2 minutes long. 

7. Customer review videos

Videos from your customers talking about why they purchased your product, why they love it, and why others should buy it.

  • MOF & BOF WINNER
  • This content is the foundation of user-generated content and consistently provides the final encouragement needed to make a purchase.
  • The best review videos are 20-40 seconds.

8. Testimonial Videos

Videos from customers discussing how the product has helped them or made a difference in their lives and how it could benefit others.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • Testimonial creatives show off your product and add trust in your brand. If your video testimonial is mixed with imagery, this often performs best.

9. Finish Checkout Creatives

Images or videos encouraging users to return to the website and finish checking out.

  • BOF Abandoned Cart winner
  • This is one of the few times being very direct generates a great return. When developing checkout creatives, we’ve found that the more straightforward you are with segmentation, the better it performs. If someone checked out a product but didn’t buy, then call it out and test different creatives to see which converts best.

10. “We miss you” creatives

These videos address in a creative way that we know a user has revisited a website but has not purchased — they encourage the user to return and make a purchase.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • These creatives focus on the re-engagement of potential customers that have shown a high level of interest but haven’t taken any action in a while. This style of creative works well as an image or 6-10 second video that’s very direct. Since these viewers already understand your brand, you can be direct with creative.

By leveraging our paid advertising insights and strategies in creative development, we aim to provide you with a clear path to creating ads that massively impact your brand. If you’re able to implement a variation of each type of content outlined above, we’re confident that your ad performance will improve. 

How to Scale Winning Paid Ads Campaigns

Imagine

You’ve been running ad campaigns for your brand for a couple of weeks to test for winning variations: and you’ve found them. Now it’s time to scale — to take your winning campaigns and push them to more people for a greater return. 

But how do you get there? Do you simply add more spend to the budget? Turn off non-performing variations?

What’s our winning process?

Historically, we’ve struggled with this answer. After a lot of trial and error and learning from the best consultants in the media buying space, we’ve developed a framework that helps our partners grow with paid ads.

Before we start scaling, we run our ad sets for 3-5 days for accurate average results — Facebook tends to show better results in the first few days of running ads. While it’s good to see ads converting, don’t let this fool you! This is often where scaling begins and ends for brands; they see initial growth, then watch their campaigns slowly decline or stagnate.

We follow this process:

  1. Increase the ad budget for the Top Of Funnel / Cold Traffic campaign by 20-30% — some suggest as much as 50%, but we wouldn’t go so far. This provides a baseline of data and the highest likelihood of consistent performance during initial growth stages.
  2. After 2-4 days at the new ad spend with consistent results, duplicate the ad set, and push the budget 100% higher than the original.
  3. When implementing higher budgets, leverage manual bidding, and test multiple ad sets with 1x, 2x, 3x, and 4x the target CPA.
  4. Within the campaign, create an ad set with 5-10x the original budget.
  5. Because Facebook auction fluctuates daily, we need to determine what kind of manual bidding works best for our ad sets.
  6. Finally… Test, Test, Test. scaling a winning campaign involves a lot of trial and error! However, with the right mindset and the right team, it is possible.

Ad Budget Breakdown

We’ve tested numerous strategies when it comes to managing the ad spend for maximum results. Over the years we’ve found that splitting the ad spend using a 70/30 model where 70% of the ad spend is directed towards cold traffic and the other 30% is devoted towards re-targeting and engaging our existing audience.

Cold Traffic / Top Of Funnel: 70% Of Ad Spend

Middle Of Funnel: 15 – 20% of Ad Spend

Bottom Of Funnel: 10% – 15% Of Ad Spend

Taking some time to outline a detailed strategy that can maximize your scaling potential is essential when setting up these campaigns. Make an effort to develop a thoughtful strategy rooted in specific goals. This will make your efforts focused, efficient, and set for success.

The Top Must-Haves For Any Kickass Marketing Plan

Must-Haves For Any Marketing Plan

Any company that wants to be successful must have a solid marketing plan to get their name out there, bring in leads, and close on a sale. While there seems to be more or less an unofficial system in place that most businesses can follow to design their marketing plan around, why is it that some businesses do so much better than others?

For starters, although all businesses may have a marketing plan in place, there’s a big difference between what’s considered a good marketing effort and what’s considered not-so-good. A good or a great marketing strategy one of the key differentiators that businesses need in order to grow, and although it takes a lot of effort, the guidelines are essentially the same across the board.

As long as you have these three things at your disposal, then carrying out an effective marketing strategy shouldn’t be too much of a challenge:

1) A Brand Persona

The first step in putting forth a great marketing effort is to establish a brand for yourself. When most people think of a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. While a logo is certainly important in the fluidity of your brand across your website, social media platforms, etc., it’s not really what defines a “brand.” In fact, a brand is actually defined as A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” This means that when people come to learn about and understand your product (or services), they know that it’s directly connected to YOU.

That being said, developing a strong brand so that you can string it through all your marketing efforts takes a bit of an investment. And, in many cases, it also requires an expert that can walk you through the process. Sometimes, it helps to have an outsider help you understand what makes your business stand out from all the others. You may be selling a product that hundreds of other businesses are also selling, but for some reason, yours is unique. Tell them why. When you have the answer to that, then you know what your brand really is. Only afterward can come the creation of logos, signatures, visions, missions, mottos, and all those things that are generally tied to what people should be defining as a company’s brand persona.

2) A Buyer Persona

In addition to defining your company in terms of a brand persona, there also comes the other side of selling your products and services, and that’s establishing criteria for the people who will buy from you. Therefore, you must also have a buyer persona in order to put forth the best marketing effort possible.

According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is defined as “A representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Customer data can include anything and everything from user behavior, demographics, and the needs and desires of your customer base. Until you gather this information — and you continue gathering it throughout the lifetime of your business — you won’t be able to define your buyer persona and really understand your audience.

But, once you do understand your audience, altering your marketing strategy so that it’s appropriate for your audience, will be a breeze. This can be done in a number of different ways, whether its analyzing information on trends of your buyers or taking a poll to find out more information on your leads.

3) A Plan and Basic Strategies

Finally, once you’ve got your brand persona and your buyer persona all taken care of, it’s time to come up with a plan as well as basic strategies to follow through on. This will allow you to measure the success and positive change that’s happening in your company over time. A great marketing effort comes from company leaders and their employees who work together to create the foundation that determines how things will work, in order to reach the final goal – making money.

It lays out a series of steps that are your best guarantee to finding success. And, once you go through this process, you’ll be able to go back, again and again, to analyze how you’ve done, so you can improve yourself for the next round.

Remember that a great marketing effort can only exist when a company continues to find areas where changes can be made so that you can come out with more profit, more customers, and more leads than the previous quarter. This plan, along with your basic strategies, will be different for each and every business, so it’s a good idea to meet with an expert to make sure that your plan and strategies are directly aligned with your end goal.

Don’t waste time playing around with a marketing strategy that just won’t work. Hire a marketing and branding expert to get you started on the right track from the very beginning. This way, you can be sure you have everything in place to create an outstanding marketing effort that will continue to bring in leads and drive in profit.

Looking To Get Your Buyer Personas In Order?

Check out this free guide!

 

Looking To Automate Your Business? Think Again..

Truthfully we all hate doing the tedious tasks that could just easily be fixed or made easier by a fancy software…

But, more likely than not 99% of us are jumping into automation software WAAAAAY too quickly.

Let’s preface this article for a sec, software is great and we are not saying you shouldn’t use it to make your life easier. After all who wants to spend more time on the minute tasks that could be automated by a machine?

We do though believe that automation software is best suited for the business processes that we have already done the hard work of optimizing from the manual process. Think of the hard manual process as a way to better understand how the job is done on a granular level. Often times we are so focused on just getting the work done that if we took a step back to understand what we doing and why then we would be able to make adjustments and decrease the amount of time doing the work. If you’re lucky you’ll find a smoother process for yourself that doesn’t rely on software at all.  #savethatmoney

Ok moving into the reasoning for this article in the first place.

Me: “Let me see the email you’re planning to send.”
(Shows me his cold email.)

Me: “What’s your response rate on this email?”

Jason: “Not sure. That’s why we need email automation.”

Me: “Gotcha. I recommend Gmail.”

Jason: “But Gmail won’t send automated follow-ups.”

Me: “Right.”

Find 100 prospects.

Send two emails to each prospect.

Call them three times.

IF you get 5% of people to meet with you

AND you have 15% conversation to close rate

THEN we can chat about email automation tools.

It’s easy to get seduced by tech.

Keep the start simple.

NOTE: If you or someone you know relates to this story above share it. We all love sharing stories, don’t we? 

Your Likely Running Your Business With Automation But Completely Unprepared Todo So

Trust us when we say that It’s not just you that’s doing this wrong. So many of us are constantly searching for the latest and the greatest tool’s that can further automate your business.

But, what should be doing is increasing efficiently of the current process over trying to find the next tool or full automation to use.

Stop wasting your money and focus on how to make your process more efficient and effective using what you’ve already got.

By always thinking automation first without taking the time to optimize how a business process works create a BIGGER MESS.

Spending more of your money to automate crap, just brings you MORE crap at a faster pace.

Start Making Your Business Processes Efficient:

We get it; when someone talks about optimization your mind immediately goes “lets build and automation”…

Automation’s are helpful in all but, what about your actual process. Before you invest in your fancy new software that will “fix your problems.”

Like that happens…

First, you should be looking into the FREE methods you can use to optimize your business processes further.

What we do when we decide to optimize a specific section of our business is we take a look at our current process. Often, we resort to just writing it out on a whiteboard. Then, we start adding the numbers that matter to get an Idea of how optimized it is already.

Many times, just by writing out your current process, you’ll find parts of it that could be changed and reworked. When you see what part’s of the process you’d like to change then WRITE IT OUT AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE CHANGES.

After you’ve written it out, give yourself some goals to hit before you decide to make any more changes to the process. Sometimes the methods that you think are inefficient rally just needed more time and data.

What We’d Starting With When Optimizing Business Processes:

Before anything here, recognize that every business is different and each one will have places that REQUIRE your attention. These processes of your business are the ones we’ve felt had the most significant impact on the small businesses we’ve worked with.

 

1. The Sales Outreach Process

Most of us HATE sales, some of us though were born for it. By understanding the fact that you and your sales peeps are likely missing out on sales opportunities. Just because of how you do your outreach via. Email, social, call, letter, etc.. So we recommend taking some time at least two times a month to look into how your team performs their outreach.

Whats their outreach process?

  • Do they spend time getting to know each possible customer before outreach or are they just playing a numbers game?
  • Do they follow a copy regardless of who they are talking to? if so, why?
  • How have the possible customers responded to how they did their outreach? Was it good or bad?
  • How many people wanted to move forward after 100+ outreach attempts?

Spending some time looking at how you and your team first speak to your possible customers could easily 5x the amount of business you’re currently getting.

 

2. The QUALITY Of Your Customer Service

Something so many business owners and employees neglect are the quality of their customer’s service. This in many ways (especially with today’s THERE FOREVER reviews online) can hurt your business. We always recommend taking a deeper look into the whole process of how you handle your customer’s questions and issues, so you can make your customers experience AMAZING every time.

DID YOU KNOW: One of the best ways your business can get more business is from your past customers and their referrals.

Does that make you think a little more about how you treated your last customer?

What we recommend looking into your customer service process. Often you’ll find many inconsistencies in the way you and your team connect and build a relationship with your customer. Taking some time to look deeper into how both you and your team do this can provide some REALLY valuable insights.

  • Some Questions Recommend Asking Yourself During The Process:
  • How long does it take for questions to get answered by you or your team?
  • What is the time frame for you to send a customer a refund, and how easy is the process?
  • How Do you manage GREAT reviews, and also the bad ones?
  • Who keeps in contact with your customers to increase the Life Time Value of your customers?
  • How do your customers react to your customer service experience?

 

3. The Quality & Consistency Of Your Community Outreach

Are you confused on this one?

Most business neglect the amount of community outreach they do. After all, you wouldn’t immediately think about how much community service you do as a relatable metric to how many more business opportunities you’ve gained or new clients you’ve acquired. At least for now, since community engagement is an AMAZING way for your to further connect and market your business and add some extra personality to who is apart of your business and what you stand for.

Now, if you are trying to think of the ways you can connect with your community (if you’re not already doing it) some of the best places are FREE!

If we had to choose only three methods for community outreach, we would have to decide.

Social Media Outreach: this process may seem complicated and hard to do if you are not used to doing it. But, Organic Social Media Marketing is a very straightforward process that takes some effort on your part. Better yet it doesn’t even cost anything to you besides say your time.
This is one of the best ways to do your outreach if you are on a tight budget or want to engage in a new way with your local community. If you’ve never done Organic Social Marketing, you should check out our post on how to do just that!

Go To Networking Events: This isn’t for everyone, but this is an excellent way for you to connect with your target customer. If you are new in a field or have just started your business going to networking events can be a compelling platform to launch your business off of.

If you have never been to a networking event, just understand that people want to connect with you as a person first and then as a business.

So, when your there, enjoy it, have a great time, and be yourself, no one likes a fake. Doing this often with help build the foundations of your local network with these people. If they are not your direct customer, you can likely find them by building rapport with the people you know at these events.

Volunteer In The Community: With all of the needs in the community is surprising how few companies take time to volunteer in their local community. Often when you go to these events, you’ll find people that work at larger companies that are there for a similar purpose as you. But, just remember this type of community outreach is different but can at the very least bring some warmness in your hearts.
We recommend looking into local NFPs that are focused on a message that correlates in some way with your business values. Starting there can lead to building connections with influential people in your community.

If you are ever looking to start throwing your money at new automation, you came across. Please think again and take a step back, not every process needs to or SHOULD be automated. If you go through some of the methods listed above and find you still need to automate parts of your business, then you can feel confident that you are choosing at the right time. We hope this has been able to help you along your journey as a business owner and marketer.

Don’t forget to share with your friends!

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