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The 11 holidays to leverage for growing your e-commerce brand

Holidays are some of the best opportunities for brands to turn visitors into long term customers — unfortunately, most brands miss out because of a lack of planning. To help, we’ve outlined some of the most important US holidays to consider when creating a marketing plan, as well as a few tactics to best leverage these days.

Why Holiday Sales Are Great For Brands

People search for things to buy during the holidays. This creates a unique opportunity for your brand to connect with new users that are more open to trying new products. Even better: you can test different offers and angles on cold traffic to see which offers prove most enticing.

What Sales Should We Offer?

The best sales are straightforward; the most popular are sitewide sales and product bundles. If you offer a sitewide sale, A/B test callouts for specific percentages off and the total potential savings — you might find that your customers respond better to one.

Example 

Percentage Savings

“Save 20% site-wide through November 21st!”

Dollar Savings 

“Now through November 21st, save up to $75 on your order!”

What Holidays Should Have Sales?

Below are the top US holidays in 2021 we recommend including in your marketing plan to capture more sales, develop timeless brand awareness, and keep relevant with your customers. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it provides a foundation for your annual marketing plan to ensure you’re ready for the most popular holidays.

  1. New Year’s Day: January 1st
  2. Memorial Day: May 31st
  3. Independence Day: July 4th
  4. Labor Day: September 6th
  5. Veterans Day: November 11th
  6. Thanksgiving: November 25th
  7. Black Friday: November 26th
  8. Cyber Weekend: Nov 27-28th
  9. Cyber Monday: November 29th
  10. Christmas Day: December 25th
  11. New Year’s Eve: December 31st

Special holidays for your product or industry

In addition to the 11 national holidays we’ve listed, there are an ever-growing number of industry-specific holidays celebrated across social media: National Ice Cream Day, World Pharmacist Day, Houseplant Appreciation Day, Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day) — if there’s an industry for it, there’s probably a day for it.

These “holidays” can be especially effective because brands compete on a smaller scale — against other ice cream brands prepared with an advertising strategy, for instance. It can also be easier to get people excited about your product on an otherwise ordinary day.

In many instances, there can even be an opportunity to become an organizer or leader within a community/vertical for that given holiday — especially for small businesses.

Our recommendation: prepare an ad strategy for any “holidays” celebrating your products.

How expensive are paid ads during the holidays?

Year-end holidays are some of the most expensive times to run paid ads. While this shouldn’t deter you from continuing to grow, a 20-35% cost increase from historical averages is typical during November and December.

When you’re building your annual marketing plan, you’re identifying new ways to grow. Remember to look at the holidays that best relate to your brand and add them to the schedule. It might be the next best way for you to add a new stream to your brand’s annual revenue.

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.

How To Choose Audiences For Top Of Funnel

Cold traffic audiences are, without a doubt, the most difficult audiences to profitably convert with paid advertising. However, they’re usually the most important audiences you run ads to, even if your bottom of funnel audiences provide you with the greatest returns. If you’re not bringing new people into your funnel and building your pipeline, then your pool of potential customers at the bottom of the funnel will have diminishing returns.

We spend a lot of time building COLD traffic (i.e. Top of Funnel campaigns). Our Top of Funnel (TOF) campaigns usually spend 65-70% of the total budget on most accounts we manage.

Because so much ad spend is directed to cold traffic, it’s essential to choose the right audiences for your TOF campaigns.

Traffic quality is vital to your ad account’s overall performance. Since this traffic feeds into the Middle Of Funnel (MOF) and Bottom Of Funnel (BOF) campaigns, having the right audiences at the top will give your account the opportunity to perform well.


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To set up your top of funnel, evaluate your options and separate the available assets into 4 main categories:

1. Lookalike audiences (LLA) based on Custom Lists.

Custom Lists are not new. If your Facebook Pixel did not capture purchases, upload a CSV and create a lookalike audience.

PRO TIP: Export your customer list from your ecommerce platform (Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, etc.) and separate your customer data based on the amount of purchases they’ve made. Our favorite starting point is to segment people that have made only one purchase vs the people that have made 2+. We then take this data and upload the lists separately, then our final upload is both of those customer lists combined. This provides three solid audiences for testing and creating Lookalike Audiences from 1%-6%. Make sure not to remove the order value from the list so you can upload the Custom List with Life Time Value included.

Customer List #1 = People that have made only 1 purchase

Customer List #2 = People that have made more than 1 purchase

Customer List #3 = Everyone that has made a purchase

2. Lookalike audiences based on pixel events.

There are countless options and variations when creating lookalike audiences based on pixel events. The most common and available pixel events in ecommerce are PageView, ViewContent, Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, Added Payment details, and Purchases. Before creating custom audiences based on these events, you’ll always want to check Events Manager for the total number of events fired on your website for each event. These numbers can help predict the potential audience size and whether to use them as lookalikes or not.

Regardless of the total number of events, we recommend creating custom audiences for 3 / 7 / 15 / 30 / 60 / 90 / 180 days. Even if you cannot use them as a source audience for lookalikes, they will come in handy for retargeting later on.

If the number of events on your website is significant or the site has several products or landing pages, it will allow you to create more advanced custom audiences, providing more valuable lookalike audiences. We aim for the custom audience size to be at least 500 (preferably 1000) to create a solid lookalike audience. 

Here are some of our favorite LLA combinations:

  • PageView Last 30 Days Frequency > 4
  • Site Visitor Top 5% Last 90 Days
  • Top 25% Most Engaged By Time On Site
  • Any specific product / category / pixel event –> View Content_url include: Product last 60 days
  • You can also exclude purchase value under a certain amount

PRO TIP: To do an advanced search or crosscheck the potential custom audience size, you can use Facebook Analytics. It will immediately show you the audience number, and you can adjust variables more easily than creating each custom audience in the Audiences tab. If you find a great combination, you can save the filter and build the audience right away.

3. Lookalike audiences based on Engagement.

This category could be called “lookalikes based on MOF audiences”. The source audience, in this case, is from custom audiences based on Facebook Page or Instagram account engagement.

Here are a few examples:

  • FB messages sent in the past 365 days –> LLA for a client where most of their orders came through Messenger
  • FB post engagement in the past 180 days
  • FB video watch time 50%+ last 90 days
  • IG saved post in the past 180 days
  • Facebook Page visitors in the past 60 days
  • FB all Engagement in the past 365 days

Note: We believe you should only use video viewers as a source audience for lookalikes if there is no other option available. The source audience that viewed your ad videos aren’t necessarily valuable customers. Creating a lookalike from these users might not provide much value — unless your objective is to find more engaging video viewers. 

There is, however, one scenario when video viewers can be valuable as a source audience: when you have organic converting traffic with long video viewing times from watching live videos or other content on your Facebook page — such as educational, how-to videos that are connected to your products or services.

4. Interest-based audiences

Even though we think we have a better success rate when starting with lookalike audiences for TOF campaigns, we also see success with interest-based audiences — especially when the product or brand has a precise market segmentation or personas. Aside from the product or niche interest groups, our usual process is to check the Audience Insights tab to find other things page visitors are interested in.

PRO TIP: When creating these audiences, our go-to process is to combine broad audiences with interests. We leave demographic attributes open and select 1-1 main interest only, which usually results in a massive 5M+ audience. 

Example: We target people in the USA with an interest in Crossfit, excluding our website visitors in the last 180 days.

Once you’ve analyzed the four categories above, choose 5-8 audiences you believe are the most valuable for a splash of fresh traffic. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when creating a TOF campaign with Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) and choosing audiences:

If the audience sizes between ad sets vary significantly — for instance, one audience has an audience size of 70k and another with 10m — then the algorithms will likely push traffic to the ad set with a bigger audience.

If you choose LLAs based on the same sale funnel events each time, you’ll more than likely find that they overlap. This overlap limits the algorithm’s ability to test fresh traffic and find you more conversions.

Let’s say you create a 1% LLA based on:

  • Add to Cart last 180 days
  • Initiate Checkout last 180 days 
  • Purchase last 180 days 

On paper, these all look like valuable lookalikes — and they are, to a point. However, when you want to give the best chance for a TOF Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) campaign, you might want to mix up your audience and try new directions.

1% lookalikes are a solid go-to and will likely be more valuable than 2% or 5%. But we’d still recommend testing different percentages on the same source audience, as they might give you surprising results. 

Before you expand to broader percentages, we recommend that the first TOF campaigns only use a 1% audience.

Scaling your brand online is a challenging task, but you can make the path to growth easier by following strategies to affordably reach new customers. By implementing the processes we’ve outlined for finding and targeting cold traffic audiences on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll put yourself well ahead of your competitors.


Tired Of Unprofitable Campaigns?

Learn the method we’ve used to help profitably grow and scale e-commerce brands to 6-7 figures online with paid advertising. Save time, money, and countless hours testing by following our scaling method.


Fool-Proof Checklist For Paid Ads Success

To successfully run your paid ads campaigns it takes more than the knowledge of how to put everything into the ad platform you’re using.

In fact, that’s the easiest part of running ads!

Once you’re Google or Facebook ad campaigns are up and running its vital that you have a good process in place for managing and optimizing your ads consistently.

To help, we decided to outline the key points of optimization and when to review them. Below is a graphic that you can use a guide for optimizing your campaigns.

We recommend bookmarking the page so you can access it easily in the future!

Having A Solid Buyer Persona Is The Key To Online Success

You may have the best idea, the best product, and the most organized and seemingly effective business plan out there. But, if you don’t know your buyer’s persona, then none of that really matters. There are quite a few factors that go into a company’s marketing effort, and in addition to having a brand persona, you must also define your buyer’s persona.

Your buyer’s persona will give your company (specifically, your sales team) a very clear idea of who your target audience is, and how to approach them and understand them in a way that will eventually lead to closing a deal. But, there are a number of reasons why knowing your buyer’s persona is essential to your marketing strategy, and unless you internalize those, you may have a hard time moving forward.

It’ll Help Establish Your Brand

If you’re having trouble defining your brand persona — another key ingredient in your overall marketing strategy — then it’s probably because you haven’t yet figured out who you’re catering to.

Every company who sells a product or service must have an idea of what kind of people want to buy those products and services. When you have a better understanding of who your audience is, it makes it easier to create a brand that resonates well with that audience.

Heres a great example of what a solid buyer persona would look like.

You’ll Know Who You’re Targeting

Knowing your buyer persona means you’ll know exactly who you’re targeting. After all, there’s no reason you should be marketing dog products to cat owners. It’s one thing to have a general idea of who your audience is, but it’s another to delve much deeper into that. There are many different factors that go into understanding your audience, whether it’s their demographics (age, location, socio-economic status), interests, behavior, etc.

You may not know all this information up front, but you will certainly learn it over time, especially if you’re actively searching for it (and, you should be). This information is critical to marketing your products and services because you need to be sure you’re reaching the right people, and not wasting time on those who are uninterested.

You’ll Know What Types of Interactions to Look For

Having a buyer’s persona as part of your marketing strategy helps your company to determine what to be looking for as far as your audience’s interaction with your products. For instance, if your audience is primarily seniors, then your main avenue of reaching them is probably not through Facebook (though, there are certainly lots of 65+ on social media these days). Likewise, if you’re planning on reaching out to leads and customers via email marketing, then your buyer persona can help you see if this way of marketing is effective, by tracking inbox opens or internal link clicks.

Once you’ve experimented with the best ways to bring in leads via organic marketing, you can analyze their interactions and engagements to decide how to move forward. Of course, a marketing expert who is familiar with buyer behavior can help you see which engagements you should be focusing on, in order to best shape your marketing campaigns, responses, sale tactics, etc.

You Can Change Your Marketing Strategy Based on Consumer Behavior

Knowing your buyer persona is important because it helps you to fix mistakes, focus on triumphs, and make any necessary changes for the future. Even if you’re sure of your company’s buyer persona, you may find over time that your audience’s behavior slightly changes, or that your audience wants more of one product you’re selling vs. another. Once you know what to look for and you can see whether or not something is clearly leading to sales or fails, then you can appropriately change your marketing strategy or develop other areas of the sales cycle in order to convert leads.

If you don’t know your company’s buyer persona, it’d be really difficult to execute a successful marketing strategy and put in the effort that’s required in growing a business. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that hiring an expert to help guide you and break down this information can really make all the difference.

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!

 

Grow Your Social Media Following With Organic Marketing

Grow Your Social Media Following With Organic Marketing

Organic marketing is a way for company leaders to bring in leads without paying for a platform to do so. It’s an opportunity for businesses big and small, new and old, to push their advertising to the furthest possible boundary with the current resources they have available. Those who are able to implement strong organic marketing strategies are able to do so because they can confidently rely on less resources to achieve more results. One way this is done is by taking advantage of the number of free advertising options that exist on these platforms. This will allow you to connect with high-qualified leads that are interested in your products and services, without needing to spend a dime or waste time on leads that need a lot more convincing.

Why Social Media Channels  

Organic marketing strategies can be applied to pretty much anything these days, whether it be website landing pages, mobile apps, or email campaigns. But, the main reason most company leaders resort to social media channels for this specific marketing strategy is because it’s where the attention is. By next year, it’s believed that there will be approximately 2.77 billion social media users around the world, which means that the average company will already be provided with a list of potential leads for free — they’ll just need to put in a little time to make sure they are visible and accessible.

Luckily, finding those leads on social media via organic marketing has never been easier. With an algorithm very similar to Google, users on Facebook are provided with an enhanced experience that will display posts and ads that are relevant to only them. Automatically, social media allows you to connect with the people that are meant to find your products and services, without you having to lift much more than a finger to do so. And, while there are certainly ways to pay for marketing on social media platforms, many will find that you can get just as much done by not paying anything at all.

Examples of Organic Marketing on Social Media Channels

When you look at the different organic marketing strategies, it doesn’t take long to see that one of the easiest ways to practice this strategy is through social media channels. This is primarily because “organic” means “free” and social media is, well, free. This gives users a wide array of opportunities to target potential leads, without having to make an investment in something that may not lead to any results. If your business is already on social media, then it’s likely you’re already practicing some degree of organic marketing. But, in case you need a refresher or you want some other pointers, here are some examples:

Optimize Your Brand

You can’t plan on maximizing your organic marketing without having a solid brand. Make sure you have a logo that speaks to your clients, and ensure that that logo and everything associated with your brand, is plastered on every page and group you run. Additionally, make sure all our social media accounts are linked.

Utilize Video

Video is a great way to bring in leads is through organic marketing. Whether you choose to post pre-recorded videos that you’ve already posted on Youtube, or you’d rather try your hand and live video, this channel can play a huge role in any marketing campaign, but is guaranteed to reach way more users via social media.

Share Often

One of the best ways to enhance your organic marketing strategy is by sharing content as often as possible, whether that’s your content or someone else’s. More shares and more activity on social media that can ultimately provide value to your clients and increase connectivity overall, will naturally make you more exposed.

Use Emojis

Organic marketing can be done in something as simple as a Facebook post. But, not just an ordinary post — one that really attracts people. By implementing strategies like the use of images, emojis, and spaced out text in a post, people will be intrigued by the mere attractiveness of your post, and will thereby engage with you quicker than they normally would.

Monitor Your Competitors

If you want to be successful with organic marketing via social media channels, then it’s necessary that you monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing on social media. If they are talking about trending topics or you see that their posts are getting a lot of likes and shares, then take note of what they are doing and try to replicate that.

Automate Your Inbox

Most social media platforms, especially Facebook, give page owners the ability to create automatic responses in the messaging portal. This will come in handy when you’re too busy to respond to messages all the time, but you want to ensure your leads are being taken care of.

Engage with Others

While automatic responses are great, those who want their organic marketing strategy to be successful must put in the time to engage with others, whether it’s a post someone makes in a group you’re in, or a comment on one of your links. Take the time to react and continue the conversation, and these leads will start to get to know who you are and what your brand represents. After that, it won’t take long for you to lead them to the end of the sales cycle and increase that closing ratio.

Post Relevant Content

Content is one of the best ways to bring in leads and make a sale without having to spend too much money. (Unless, of course, your company has hired a content creator.)  Content that’s done well — whether it be an eBook, a whitepaper, a blog post, a podcast, a video, or anything in between — should be done with the idea in mind that it will provide value to the lead or customer for free. From there, they should get a nice slice of what it’s like to have your products or services, and they’ll, therefore, be more inclined to pay for the next piece.

But, it’s not only free for them, it should be free for you, too. Sure, you’ll have to create the content yourself, but no one said that you need to reinvent the wheel. Come up with a consistent content strategy and share away.

Things to Keep in Mind

Because social media platforms like Facebook have worked to perfect their algorithms, companies are having a hard time reaching as many people as they’d like to, despite the fact this was the very thing that made organic marketing what it is. There is some debate regarding whether or not company leaders should rely too heavily on this marketing tactic via social media, because, after all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That being said, if companies can find ways to reach their leads organically while also investing in some paid media (such as boosting posts or paying for ads), then they are much more likely to be successful. Balance is key to success.

There are many ways in which company leaders can implement organic marketing strategies, and social media is one of the most reliable in terms of ratios. But, knowing how to do it and knowing how to do it well are two different things, so take the time to utilize social media channels to the best of your ability. After that, it shouldn’t take long to see how easily organic marketing can be achieved.

Why Your Content Strategy Is Seriously Failing

Do you remember when you had to be convinced that content marketing was worth the effort?

Now, it’s more popular than ever before and has proven to be more effective than any outbound marketing activity, costing 63% less and generating three times as many leads.

In fact, 90% of all organizations now incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy. We’ve evolved from bemoaning how long it takes to write a blog article to eagerly adopting new formats and approaches.

This is, after all, a generation with young adults earning $10 million per year through monetized blogs on YouTube:

It’s safe to say the overwhelming effectiveness of content marketing has been established. For businesses who have adopted this channel, however, there is one potential pitfall. A big one.

Its equation is simple. The more organizations produce and promote content, the more content there is available to be consumed. The more content available, the less time their audience has to identify and consume the most valuable and relevant content to their needs and interests. This is what Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock’.

What is Content Shock?

Schaefer published an article four years ago in which he suggested that content marketing was not a sustainable strategy for many businesses. What was once a relatively uncrowded content space, “Red Bull was a beverage company, not a media company, Chipotle was making burritos, not claymation films, and there were roughly one-third as many bloggers”  was becoming a “situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand [remains] flat”.

In 2018, we have officially reached saturation point.

As well-intentioned as your efforts are, no matter how many hours you spend researching a blog post, or scripting a webinar, there are no guarantees that your work will yield positive results. This infographic shows just how easily your content can get lost in the crowd.

Your Content Strategy is Failing

You know your target audience. You built a strategy. You put together a content calendar. You invest time and resources. And… it’s not working.

In our current state of content shock, this is unsurprising. You need to be able to differentiate your brand, demonstrate your Unique Selling Points, and set yourself apart from an ever-growing level of competition. To quote Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

This may seem like an impossible prospect, but even in a world in which 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, you can still come out on top.  

Let’s check out the most likely reasons your content strategy is failing and how to turn things around!

 

  • You aren’t measuring the ROI of your content.

 

Only 8% of marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking content marketing ROI. If your business is spending time and budget on creating and distributing content, this is, unquestionably, the metric that matters most. And if you aren’t using the right tools and data points, it will be impossible to achieve.

Use a time-tracking app or iPhone timer to discern how long it takes to create a piece of content. Don’t forget to pause the timer while taking a break. The worth of your cumulative time spent creating content is your investment.

To find the return, you need to discern which metrics to track. If it’s online sales, you should set up a Google Analytics User Flow report to see what website visitors do, like whether they click your CTA after reading an article, or whether they make a purchase after landing on a product page. Then, knowing which content on your website is converting and which is underperforming, you can optimize your strategy.

If the main objective of your content marketing is lead generation, you can calculate content ROI by tracking the number of contact enquiries that were completed via lead gen forms around your content. Depending on how you set up your lead gen forms, this can be done through your CRM, email provider, or software such as Leadformly.

If you want to adopt a more all-inclusive approach, you can use Google’s Attribution Modeling to calculate the monetary impact of every piece of content consumed at every step in the customer journey.

Once you’ve figured out what will constitute your return, calculating ROI is only a few simple steps away. Through your content ROI, you can determine which titles, topics, and content formats best engage your customers and provide most value. These insights will enable you to adapt and refine your content strategy, and set you up for success.

 

  • You haven’t considered video.

 

51% of marketing professionals worldwide cite video as the medium with the best ROI. Marketers who use video content grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, but many brands are still reluctant to embrace it as part of their content strategy. Despite its unparalleled ability to boost brand awareness, generate quality leads, and maximize sales, video still carries a few common misconceptions.

Many assume that video only works for top-of-funnel campaigns, when brand awareness is the key objective. Or that it’s more suitable for B2C audiences rather than B2B. Or that anyone with a smartphone can create compelling video content. Or that it’s too expensive for your organization to have its video content created professionally.

The truth is, video can be whatever you want it to be and achieve whatever you need it to achieve—often more effectively than other formats. Now that the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s more feasible to imagine a consumer engaging with a 60 second video than a 1500-word article (apart from this one of course!). Easy-to-consume over breakfast, during a break, or on a commute, video also helps viewers retain 95% of its message compared to 10% for text, ensuring your brand stays front-of-mind amongst your target audience.

Video also has the ability to engage your customers on a variety of platforms. As one of the most repurposable content assets, video can seriously maximize its ROI. You can use video on your website’s landing pages to increase engagement, in email marketing campaigns to increase CTR, and in social ad campaigns to increase conversions. If you’re reluctant to invest in video production, this amazing example from Zendesk, suitable for every stage of the sales funnel, may make you want to reallocate your marketing budget!

  • You aren’t being specific.

 

You know you need to produce content as part of your wider marketing strategy. Before you start, you need to be able to answer one deceptively simple question.

“Why are we creating this content?”

One of the most common reasons for the failure of an organization’s content strategy is they haven’t considered the needs and interests of their customers. Consequently, their content lacks direction and clear purpose. You’ve taken the time to identify specific business goals and specific target audience segments. Now, you need to identify your specific content niche.

It’s important to avoid becoming an aimless content creator, fluctuating between listicles and webinars and GIFs with no sense of cohesion. Consider your target market, your value proposition and your industry. From there, decide upon the most appropriate content formats. Keeping a narrow focus will enable you to build your brand reputation and strengthen relationships. Potential and existing customers will come to eagerly anticipate your particular pieces of content.

You might become the company known for their emotive customer testimonial videos. Maybe your product review podcast series will be your specialty. But whatever angle you choose to adopt, stick with it, and do it well. Your content marketing performance metrics will speak for themselves!

 

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