How to Rank for Competitive Keywords in Search Engines

How to Rank for Competitive Keywords in Search Engines

How important is website traffic to your business?

If you rely on web traffic to generate leads and grow your business, then SEO needs to be on your radar.

Paid ads are a great way to generate quick wins, but if you can optimise your site for search engines it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. The traffic comes in day after day even when you’re not doing anything extra, OR paying for it.

Given the age of the internet and the considerable amount of websites competing for the same search engine traffic, SEO is much harder than it used to be. Especially when it comes to ranking for competitive keywords in your industry.

But if you CAN rank for competitive keywords, your business offer can get in front of your target market consistently and sustainably.

So how do you rank for competitive keywords?

The problem is that there are established brands with HUGE marketing budgets that already have the top spots filled, and they aren’t going to give them up without a fight.

Sure they might own the real estate for now, but using the proper strategy and tools can help you beat the competition.

Let’s take a closer look at how.

Check If It Is Even Possible

Start your SEO journey by creating a list of potential keywords you would like to get search engine traffic for.

When creating the list, try to choose long-tail keywords that are four words or longer instead of broad-based terms that are likely to be EXTREMELY competitive already.

benefits of targeting long-tail keywords

These keywords have less competition, and they attract highly qualified customers because it is more obvious what their INTENT is when they are searching.

If you want to use shorter keywords, you can, but it will take more time to find words that you can rank for.

When you have your list ready, go to Google and type them into the search engine. Google is your most important research tool, since it controls 65% of the search market share.

If the results contain a lot of URLs with .GOV and .EDU extensions, disregard that keyword since you most likely can’t compete with these high-authority sites.

longtail

Sites with .COM extensions might also have high domain authority rankings, but use a tool such as Open Site Explorer to check the domain authority for each site in the results. This will give you an indication of whether or not you will be able to play with the big boys or not.

Inside Open Site Explorer you should start by checking your site’s own domain authority to see how you compare:

opensite

Then, put the first competitor’s domain name into the box. If you have a better authority score, you are one step closer to outranking that competitor for the keyword you have chosen.

opensite2

Google also uses domain age when determining page ranking. To figure that out, go to the WHOIS database to check each site’s domain age:

contact information

If your domain loses in regards to age and authority, you will need to put a lot of time and money into ranking. So it may not be worth your effort.

Instead, you could use the Moz Pro Keyword Explorer and SERP Analysis Tool to find long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for. Simply type your desired phrase into the tool and then click “See Full Analysis” under “SERP Analysis”, and it will generate some potentially valuable keyword alternatives for you.

overview

In this search:

  • The “Volume” refers to the number of people who search for a keyword on average every month
  • The “Difficulty Score” shows how difficult it is to rank for the keyword. The closer the score is to 100, the harder it will be to rank for
  • The “Opportunity Score” illustrates the click-through-rate potential for organic results. If people typically buy ads for this keyword the opportunity will be lower, because it means you are competing against ad clicks as well
  • The “Potential Score” is a combination of the metrics. If you find a key phrase with a high “Potential Score,” you can likely rank for it

Uncover How Many Backinks You Need

Google puts a significant emphasis on backlinks when ranking your pages in their searches.

Put simply, “backlinks” are literally as they sound – someone has hyperlinked from their website back to yours. It’s seen as a signal of quality in the Google algorithm.

It’s not a black-and-white comparison, but if you have more quality links than the other pages trying to rank for a certain search term, then it is highly likely that you will outrank them.

“Quality” is a very important term here though. You are better off having a select few credible domains linking back to your website, rather than a hundred low-quality spammy websites.

To analyse how many links you will need to rank for a certain term, go to the Domain Comparison feature in Ahref’s software.

Put your domain name in the first box and the domain names of your top four competitors in the next four boxes.

domaincomparison

This shows how many links you need from each referrer in order to move past your competition.

While many of the links are .COM, the top sites also have .EDU and .GOV links. These are the real momentum-shifters when it comes to ranking your site for competitive keywords. Of course these links are significantly more difficult to get than .COM links are, which makes them much more valuable.

Write Long-Form Content

SERPIQ conducted a study that found that websites in the top ten of Google’s search results have an average content length of over 2,000 words:

serpIQ

Sites that rank number one have an average content length of 2,416 words, and sites that come in tenth have an average word count of 2,032. This shows that there is a slight drop in page rank as the word count reduces.

Longer content (if interesting and engaging) tends to attract more backlinks and it helps position yourself as an authority. It also gives you additional opportunities to rank for long-tail keywords and increases the amount of time people spend on your website, which is another factor Google takes into account when ranking content.

Regardless of your domain age or your authority ranking, you can reap the benefits of long-form content by creating something that is 10x better than anything else already out there on a topic. This will help you stand out, not only to Google but also to your customers.

Try to include stories, visuals and a variety of media in your long-form content. You need to engage readers for a long period and ideally make them want to check out other pages on your site.

 

The goal with long-form content is that your readers will have everything they need from that topic when they finish reading, and won’t need to look elsewhere.

Do On-Page SEO

“On-Page SEO” is essentially anything on your web page that you can influence, optimise or edit in order to better align with Google’s ranking factors.

There are various components to on-page SEO, and each component plays a role in helping your site move up in the search rankings.

Let’s take a look at some of the on-page factors that are most important when trying to rank for competitive keywords.

Page Loading Speed

Google announced speed as a ranking factor in 2010, and plans to use it as a mobile ranking factor in 2016.

A content delivery network (CDN) is an easy way to speed up your website. It cuts down on the space between visitors and the server by storing cached versions of the site in various locations.

It looks a little something like this:

CDN

When someone accesses the site, the server that’s closest to the user provides the information, allowing the site to load much faster.

If you want your site to be fast, don’t make the mistake of using large images and scaling them down, as the website still reads them as large images. If you take an image that is 2000 x 2000 pixels and use CSS to scale it to 200 x 200 pixels, browsers will still view it as 2000 x 2000 pixels.

Instead, scale your images to their appropriate size and use TinyPNG to compress them. TinyPNG reduces the size of images without reducing the quality so your site will load faster without losing its visual appeal.

tiny png-panda

Another thing you can do to improve site speed is to reduce your HTTP requests down to 10-30 files per page. That is a big reduction from the 99 requests per page that website owners average. (Of course this one requires a bit more technical know-how so you may want to enlist an agency or web expert to help out)

User Experience

Google closely looks at user experience when determining rankings, so design your site in a way that minimises the bounce rate. (The time it takes for a visitor to land on your page and leave again)

For example, long-form, highly readable content that is 2,000 or more words keeps people on your site longer.

Your text’s readability score should be around an eighth grade level so everyone can read it with ease. Check the readability score with the Hemingway Editor.

Multimedia also engages users and keeps them on your site, so try to integrate videos on your pages to increase interaction. But be sure to test your multimedia, since it can also increase bounce rate if it takes a long time to load.

Navigation and Design

Make use of whitespace. Visitors who get overwhelmed with text and options tend to leave a website.

They also leave if they can’t navigate the site. Follow the three-click rule. People should be able to find what they want within three clicks.

On-Site Engagement

Getting visitors to share your web pages on social media increases your site engagement and tells Google that people care about what you have to offer.

Include social sharing cues on your website such as calls-to-action, images and embedded social buttons using tools like Shareaholic.

shareaholic

Other On-Page Factors

  • Mobile friendly web design is a ranking factor, so you need to create a responsive website or build a mobile version of your current site.
  • Every page on your site should include 2-3 internal links to other important pages on your site
  • External links from your pages out to other authority sites also helps
  • Create a short, easy to understand URL for every page on your site. Google pays attention to the first 3-5 words of the URL so include your keywords here if possible
  • Use H1 and H2 header tags on your pages, and include your keywords in these headings if possible

titletag

Source: Backlinko

  • Optimise your images for SEO by using an Alt tag that consists of your keyword and a description of the image
  • Include your keyword in the first 100 words of your blog post. If you have a less valuable keyword, put it in the second paragraph
  • Write a meta description that encourages action and includes your keywords. Consider the user intent and write the description accordingly

Start Link Building

Once your site is optimised for SEO, you need to get quality backlinks pointing to it. This is known as link building.

Start the process by submitting your site to directories. Before you submit to a directory, check its authority and rank in Moz’s Open Site Explorer.

Go to the explorer, type in the name of the directory, and click “Compare Link Metrics”:

opensite2 (1)

Look at the page authority, Page MozRank, and Page MozTrust scores before moving forward.

In general, most directories won’t have perfect authority, rank, and trust ratings. Choose directories that are above the middle of the pack to benefit from the links.

In the example above, the link has a Page Authority of 80 and Page MozRank and Page MozTrust scores over 6. This would provide a quality link for a free directory.

Consider paid directories such as Business.com as well. Paid directories provide no-follow links that help with exposure and reputation building, which in turn can get you more links.

businesslistings

Continue to create quality content that people in your industry will want to link to, and use PPC and social media to promote your content.

Getting .EDU and .GOV links is more difficult, but this article will help.

Integrate with Google

Integrating your site with Google begins with creating an XML sitemap so the search engine’s robots can crawl and index your site properly. Some content management systems auto-generate sitemaps, but WordPress users need to use a plugin such as Yoast SEO to do so.

seo

Once completed, make sure the sitemap can be accessed via a URL, then go to the Google Search Console and add your website.

searchconsole

Verify your site and select it. Then click “Site Configurations” and “Sitemaps” and add your site map.

Next, create a Google+ page for your business so your brand will be more visible online, and to Google.

googlebusiness

Continue creating a Google presence by building a Google My Business profile…

googlebusiness2

Finalise your plan for ranking in search engines by adding social media and customer reviews to your site. Google uses social cues for its rankings so this will help your site move up the search results. Plus, people are more likely to engage with a site that has positive reviews visible in a search.

Consider tools like Review Buddy and Testimonial Robot for adding reviews, and Shareaholic and LoginRadius for social media integration.

Conclusion

Ranking for competitive keywords might seem like an impossible task, but with the right strategy and some hard work it’s within your reach.

And it’s worth it…

People going to search engines for information isn’t a trend that is going to disappear tomorrow. In fact, it continues to grow as more of the world’s population access the internet via their mobile devices.

I won’t sit here and tell you that SEO is the one and only tactic you should use to generate traffic and leads for your business. However, it is an extremely important cog in a well balanced and diversified digital marketing strategy.

How do you fair when it comes to ranking for competitive keywords?

If SEO is a regular sticking point for your business and you are interested in driving MORE revenue, not just more traffic contact us for a free quote.

The post How to Rank for Competitive Keywords in Search Engines appeared first on Marketing Results.

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In-house Vs. Outsourced Digital Marketing – The Ultimate Comparison

In-house Vs. Outsourced Digital Marketing – The Ultimate Comparison

Have you ever considered outsourcing your digital marketing function?

Or perhaps you’re preparing for a growth phase, and it’s time to make some choices about how you staff your digital marketing efforts?

Deciding whether you hire a full-time digital marketing team or outsource to an agency can be challenging. There are lots of things to consider, many of which are hidden from plain view. Especially if you’ve never been through it before.

That’s why we decided to put together this comparison for you. The rest of this post will help you make an informed decision about what the best path for you and your business is, by clearly outlining the Pros, Cons and indifferences about hiring a full-time digital marketing employee or outsourcing to an agency.

Full disclaimer up front, at Marketing Results we are positioned as a “Full Time Digital Marketing Replacement”. But don’t worry, I’m not here to sway your opinion either way.

The information below is designed to help you come to your own conclusion about what’s best in your unique situation. If after doing all of that, you’re interested in taking things to the next step, then we can talk.

Let’s get into it then…

Pros of In-House Digital Marketing

Cultural Immersion

If you hire a full-time team member for your business, they can immerse in your culture and values 24/7.

Your brand has a unique history, vision and goals that you’ll need to explain clearly to an outsourced team if they’re going to help convey it in your marketing message.

An in-house team has a much easier job making this connection with your brand. Not to mention that engaging with internal team members can be an effective digital marketing strategy in itself.

Here’s an example of Nokia doing just that:

A brand connection for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: LinkHumans

Internal Business Intelligence

Someone on your internal marketing team will have extensive internal business knowledge.

This means they will have specific insights when performing analytics and interpreting your data, that an outsourced team won’t be able to access.

Faster Processes

Your own employees will have the best understanding of your company, its products, and customers. A team that’s in-tune with your business can respond faster to internal and market changes.

Also, some marketing tasks require input from other departments (product, IT, etc). They’ll need less time to get up to speed on your marketing needs, and know exactly what areas of your business have been affected by changes.

Outside agencies can only work with what you tell them.

The Right Mix of Talent

The kind of team you need will depend on your business and product, but building your own team gives you the opportunity to hire the right mix.

For example, a marketer selling a new kind of workout equipment may need bodybuilding experts, nutrition experts and many other team members to market their product. It’s unlikely you will find a digital marketing agency with these specialist credentials.

Cons of In-House Digital Marketing

Lack of Skills

Digital marketing requires many brains – the person who is a genius at copy is different from the person who is a genius at design, or development, or analytics, or strategy,

Someone who is genuinely EXCELLENT at a broad range of skills will be;

  • very hard to find
  • very hard to keep, or
  • very expensive

Working with an internal team means at least some of them have to have skills in all of these areas, and according to B2B leaders, skill gaps are a big problem:

Lack of skills for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: B2BMarketing.Net

Not Enough Time and Resources

A lack of time, budget, and reputable training can stall in-house digital marketing teams from learning the skills they need to succeed.

A lack of time means that over 80% of digital marketers learn on the job:

a wider skill set for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: MarketingLand

This can be a big problem when working with an internal team. If everyone has a maxed out work load and a reduced skill set, it can be hard to take care of your changing marketing needs.

No Direction

Working with an internal team also means taking the time to develop a digital strategy, and guiding your employees on the right path to execute that strategy.

This learning curve takes time and money, which might be why many marketers are still struggling to develop a focused digital strategy.

the learning curve for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Regalix

Cost

The cost of hiring an internal digital marketing team can be substantial.

The true cost of employment includes:

  • Hiring/recruitment cost
  • Training cost
  • Management supervision
  • Performance reviews
  • Paid holidays
  • Other benefits
  • Equipment cost
  • Floor space
  • Professional development cost
  • Ramp up cost (time spent at less than full efficiency while they learn your systems)

Research from Bersin by Deloitte found that recruitment can cost nearly $4000 per individual hire, and here’s how much some specialised digital marketing professionals are earning every year:

cost for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Moz

Scalability Problems

If you have an in-house team and want your marketing efforts to be scalable, the only way to do that is to hire more talent.

Investing in new marketing initiatives is a valuable strategy, but it’s limited by internal budgets.

It’s no surprise then that securing enough budget for marketing initiatives remains the second biggest challenge for internal marketers:

Scalability problems for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Hubspot

If you hire an agency, they already have the resources available to them and can scale as soon as you are ready.

It can be a useful “implementation support resource” to an internal marketing manager or team who don’t have the time, specialisation or budget to implement everything in house.

Difficulty Finding Talent

Research by Bullhorn found that 64% of recruiters report a shortage of skilled candidates for marketing roles.

This is compounded by the fact that digital marketing professionals are more in demand than ever.

Moz did a study of digital marketing job listings on Indeed.com and saw massive spikes in the listings:

Difficulty finding talent for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Moz

Less talent and more demand means finding talent for your team could be all the more difficult.

With the best digital marketers in high demand, it also increases the chance that you will hire the wrong person.

Mis-hires can be extremely costly, and here’s why:

  • You must first identify that the person is off track
  • Then you will need to provide some intervention (e.g. management) and monitor their performance
  • Next you need to figure out that the intervention hasn’t worked
  • Fire them and pay out any entitlements
  • Most likely go without the function for a while
  • Rehire and go through the whole process again

Pros of Outsourced Digital Marketing

A Wider Skill Set

Hiring an agency means you get access to senior experts to develop your strategy – then lower-cost implementers to make it happen.

These experts are charged with keeping up with the latest trends, techniques and technologies. And the training budgets and resources are significant for marketing agencies.

Truly keeping up on these changes can seem like a full-time job in itself:

a wider skill set 2 for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: MarketingLand

This skill set is also more flexible. You can ramp up and down quickly, or stop with little notice.

Specialisation

Hiring an agency is the “expert team” approach – you get the right brains in the right quantities – so you can get what you need and don’t over-pay for what you don’t need.

And 96% of marketers feel that the breadth of marketing skills needed for team success has increased dramatically:

Specialization for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: MarketingLand

Outsourcing gives you access to a larger team of expert copywriters, strategists, marketing tech, designers and more who specialise in each digital marketing role.

It’s Cost Effective

Outsourcing can save businesses up to half the cost of hiring a full time marketer.

You save money on recruiting, training, salaries, and benefits – and any other hidden staffing costs that you can’t predict.

The cost of outsourcing depends on your needs, not individual salaries.

And sure the “per hour” cost will probably be higher than an internal resource on paper (but you’ll get more done in the time AND you don’t have the high hidden cost of a full-time employee).

Measurable ROI

They’ve done it before, which means they can get in and get the job done quickly.

And good marketing agencies are results focused. They design their engagements based on hard outcomes rather than “processes” or being seen to be “trying hard”.

This solves an internal marketers biggest challenge – Proving ROI:

Measurable ROI for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Hubspot

An outsourced team knows how to analyse key performance indicators of a digital strategy to monitor ROI. They use this information to test, optimise and improve campaigns.

This is a valuable asset, considering that proving ROI of marketing activities unlocks budget too.

Cons of Outsourced Digital Marketing

Less Control and Speed to Market

Offloading work to an agency makes it difficult to maintain as much control over your campaigns. And an agency who takes projects and runs with them without keeping you in the loop can be problematic.

This typically means less access when and where you want it – you have to plan more and it may be harder to shoot from the hip with a new campaign that needs to go out “yesterday”.

No Full Time Employees

Agencies have many clients, and you’re just one of them. They MAY be less available, or slow to complete work – it depends on who you work with.

This can affect communication when other client meetings and work take up their time.

On the other hand full time employees are devoted to your needs and your needs alone. (Most of the time)

Integration Challenges

The marketing partner is external so they may take some time to understand and absorb your culture.

Outsourcing can make it difficult to keep all your marketing activity integrated and complementing each other, unless you outsource the WHOLE function.

This requires close coordination of your marketing message on social media, paid advertising, blogs, and other platforms.

The Wrong Fit

You could end up with an agency that just isn’t a good fit for your business.

Perhaps they don’t have experience in your industry, or they don’t understand your audience, or they don’t work well with your business structure and needs.

This just comes down to picking the right one.

How to Choose

It’s clear that digital marketing overall has benefits that are continuing to grow.

The real factor to consider is how capable your in-house team is at taking advantage of these benefits:
how to choose for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Marketing Mag

If your in-house team is limited, you have two options for ensuring continued growth:

  • Outsource or collaborate
  • Add to your internal team

Because of the benefits of marketing integration, many businesses prefer to grow their internal team. But it comes with limitations:

  • Lack of budget to hire new talent
  • Inability to find the talent you need
  • Restrictions on your ability to scale fast

If you find yourself in that situation, you’re not forced to abandon your internal team and go completely outsourced.

Many businesses opt for a mix of in-house and outsourced digital marketing activities:

mix digital marketing activities for in-house vs outsourced digital marketing

Image Source: Smart Insights

Ongoing digital marketing activities that aren’t necessarily campaign-based could make sense to do in house:

  • PR
  • Content marketing
  • Social media

Specialised, campaign based activities that require certain talents could be best outsourced:

  • SEO
  • App development
  • Display ads
  • Webpage design
  • PPC
  • Copywriting

This is a generalisation, because ultimately the tasks you outsource will depend on your internal team’s skills and your digital strategy.

In the end, a mixture of in-house and outsourced team members might best help businesses reap the benefits of both options.

An Example Agency Program

Disclaimer: This is where I tell you about what we have to offer and “sell” a little bit. Feel free to stop reading if you’re not considering the outsourced alternative above.

Are you wondering what an agency program actually looks like?

Here’s an insight into our Gold Client Program which is delivered by our team of highly capable online specialists.

They build a state-of-the-art Google AdWords campaign, install a testing and tracking system, then tweak and optimise the heck out of your online sales process.

Then we throw in the services of a pro copywriter, who works with you to perfect your sales message so you’re clearly, undeniably BETTER than everyone else in your market.

And once your online sales process is ticking along nicely, we pour in more traffic from sources including organic (free) search engines, Facebook advertising and social media.

We don’t do this so you can sit back and relax on the beach with a pina colada (though you’re welcome to do so if you’re able).

We do this so you can concentrate on doing the thing that YOU are best at in your business.

Those that have an imaginary business think the Gold Client Program is expensive – your investment will be around $9,000 in the first 3 months (plus traffic).

Yes, if you have an imaginary business, that’s pricey.

But if you have a REAL business, it’s CHEAP.

Here’s why: compare that to hiring an employee… ANY employee.

In Australia, $9K will get you a new graduate 2 days a week for 12 weeks. That graduate will likely have NO experience and limited real-world skills.

In the Gold Client Program, it buys you a crack team of website development and optimisation specialists who know how to do one thing: make your website make money.

You can spend the next 3 months trying to cobble together a team of freelancers, or you can get the best team money can buy working on your site right away.

If increasing the revenue and profit of your current website by 100 to 300 percent over the next 12 months would translate into a significant boost to your business, I invite you to consider joining us on one of the most profitable journeys you’ll ever take.

The first step is very low-key. I invite you to request your complimentary Online Marketing Strategy Session.

The Strategy Session is a 30 to 45 minute session with me on the phone in which we will discuss your current website results and where you want to be – then formulate a plan to get there. (If you don’t yet have a website, we can also discuss the best way to get started, although I should mention we only work with well-funded startups).

Of course, there’s no obligation whatsoever. This is just a no-risk way for us to get to know each other a little better and explore whether or not there’s a “fit”.

Click here to contact us now

Since I’ve held your interest this far and you’re still reading, chances are the Gold Client Program could be exactly what you need to put your online marketing on auto-pilot so you can focus on your core business.

The post In-house Vs. Outsourced Digital Marketing – The Ultimate Comparison appeared first on Marketing Results.

The Ideal Lead and Sales Management Dashboard

The Ideal Lead and Sales Management Dashboard (1)

For over 13 years our focus has been on lead generation – but it didn’t take long before the realisation hit that nothing happens until a sale is made.

All the leads in the world mean nothing until they convert into new cash, customers and profits.

And because we work remotely from our clients, to really see what’s happening on the coalface, we’ve needed to develop complete lead and sales management systems that provide full visibility of the entire revenue generation function.

And there are 5 functions to this system you need to have in place in order to continuously improve results.

They are:

  1. A lead generation function: marketing campaigns that draw qualified prospects to you on a steady and consistent basis.
  2. A lead management function: a process for effectively managing the leads you get and plugging them into your sales process. You need to ensure unqualified leads don’t unnecessarily consume your salespeople’s time – and also that good leads don’t get dropped.
  3. A sales process: a series of defined stages that prospects go through in order to become your client.
  4. Sales scripts: structured language designed to achieve the best sales outcomes (without appearing “wooden” or unnatural).
  5. A sales management function: this includes the visibility you need to monitor what you’re getting, warn you when things are off track, and report on outcomes and progress.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the sales management tools we’ve developed to help ensure your sales process remains on track.

Part 1: The Ideal Lead And Sales Management Dashboard

Here’s the lead and sales management dashboard we use to monitor the health of our sales and marketing pipeline.

(We use Infusionsoft – although the same concepts could be set up in most CRM dashboards if you happen to use a different tool.)

Below I’ll unpack why each box exists and what it achieves.

Lead and sales management dashboard image

1. New Leads – Uncontacted

New Leads – Uncontacted contains a list of all the people who have contacted us whom we have not yet attempted to call to set up an appointment.

Because we aim to call back leads who may look qualified extremely quickly, at all times we want this box to look like this – empty!

Uncontacted leads in sales management dashboard

 

If at any time there are leads in that box (during business hours), we aim to pounce on them.

We also keep a timestamp to record our actual callback speed – and work internally to improve our performance.

2. New Leads – Contact Attempts Started

This box contains a list of all the new leads that we have attempted to contact at least once. They’re in process.

We’ll attempt to contact these leads 6 times via phone and/or email before marketing them as “uncontactable”.

Our aim is to establish real-time contact via phone to determine what happens next.

New leads in sales management dashboard

3. Open Opportunities

This is where the magic happens 🙂

We use a pipeline approach to managing opportunities, and the Open Opportunities tracks every current live opportunity and what stage it is at.

Open opportunities in sales management dashboard

We can easily see at a glance, who we’re talking to, what stage they’re in, who owns the opportunity, the Next Action – and the Next Action Date.

These last two are critical.

Especially as your sales opportunity volume climbs, it’s vital that for every opportunity you know what’s going to happen next and when it has to happen by.

Providing these fields are constantly kept up to date, you’ll always have forward momentum in your sales pipeline.

This brings us to…

4. Overdue Opportunities

I’ve seen many companies have the best intentions to establish a wonderful sales process with documented pipeline steps and the whole nine yards – but they fall down on execution.

Even if you’re the sole salesperson (but especially if you have multiple salespeople) – you need an easily visible “warning light” to tell you when sales opportunities go off track.

The way we do this is with the “Overdue Opportunities” view.  This shows us the moment an opportunity has a “Next Action Date” that is in the past.

Overdue opportunities in sales management dashboard

This provides a simple mechanism to ensure we:

  1. Always remember to update the opportunity with a “Next Action” and;
  2. Get a reminder to implement any “Next Actions” that get missed

This allows salespeople to self-regulate in most cases, but it also allows sales managers to remain more focused on only the items that are “off track”, rather than having to stay across every sales opportunity.

5 and 6. Won and Lost Opportunities

I find it useful to keep Won and Lost Opportunities within easy viewing reach. I can quickly see where we Won and Lost (and why), so if I have to access an opportunity from the recent past, I can.

7. Recent Activity

Infusionsoft has a widget called “Recent Activity” that can be useful for reading the “heartbeat” of our subscribers, leads and opportunities in real time.

Here’s what this looks like right now:

Recent activity in sales management dashboard

These “triggers” allow us to see with a quick scan, what individuals in our database are doing.

It can be useful to see if key emails were opened, or if individuals are interested in a particular topic or resource.

This allows our phone calls to be better timed and more relevant.

8. Recent Email Broadcasts

Zooming out to a more “macro” level, I like to see at a glance the results of recent email broadcasts. Infusionsoft has a ready-made widget that does this:

Email broadcasts in sales management dashboard

This allows me to see which emails and topics are getting more interest than others.

The above dashboard is something I’ve tweaked and refined over several years.

It works – and is easy to change up if I decide I want to see something else.

Most importantly, it allows us to manage and keep track of a complex, high volume pipeline quickly and easily, and ensure that leads don’t slip through the cracks.

A dashboard like this is great for tracking your real time activity – but it’s not great for getting a feel for the trends and performance of your sales function as a whole.

For that, you need a sales reporting process

Part 2: The Ideal Lead And Sales Report

Keeping your sales function ticking over smoothly is all-important – but it’s not the whole picture.

Here’s an example to illustrate: a lot of CRM systems will produce a “Pipeline Report” that tells you how many sales opportunities are in what stage of the process, like this (fictional) report courtesy of Infusionsoft:

Pipeline report for sales management dashboard

The real problem with reports like this is that it is only a static snapshot.

This doesn’t tell me critical information like:

  • how fast opportunities are flowing through my pipeline
  • how close I am to making my next sale(s)
  • whether or not the sales function is getting more or less effective
  • which pieces of the process need the most focus and improvement
  • whether or not we’re on track to hit our targets

For that, you need a sales report.

Here’s the structure we use for ours:

Sales report in sales management dashboard

We use Google Docs for this, and the report is compiled semi-automatically each week by our Sales Co-ordinator.

Let’s unpack this in more detail:

Weekly Views – this allows us to get a sense for the “flow” of opportunities through our pipeline every week.

One of our clients once had around 80 opportunities in the “Ready To Proceed” stage of their sales process.  It looked good on paper – but when we started to use a report like the one above, we saw that very little were actually crossing over into a “Won” opportunity.

What they actually had, was a number of dead opportunities in their pipeline that they refused to pronounce last rites over. A report like the one above picks this sort of thing up.

List – this is the number of new subscribers joining our email list. While not a “sales” metric, per se, this is a great leading indicator of future sales enquiries and opportunities.

If this number drops, it may indicate that our enquiry pipeline will dry up in the near future

Enquiries – this is the number of raw sales enquiries coming in every week, via email or phone.

Appt Set – this is the number of Initial Appointments set – and the following column, Appt Set % – tracks the percentage of Enquiries converted into an appointment. This percentage gives a rough sense of lead quality and/or may flag issues around lead response times.

Appt Held – as you know, some appointments that are set are never held. They may be cancelled, or result in a no show, or similar. Nothing really happens until the appointment is held, so this number is critical.

FU Booked means “Followup Appointments Booked” – the number of initial appointments that result in a continuation of the opportunity. This provides a rough indicator of lead quality. If this number falls, that may suggest issues with either sales effectiveness (process, scripting), or lack of pre-qualification of certain opportunities in the pipeline.

Won – my second favourite column. The number of discrete opportunities won during the week.

New Rev – my all-time fave. The amount of new revenue generated during the week.

You’ll notice certain columns are further highlighted in aqua. These are the MOST CRITICAL numbers I like to keep track of very closely:

  • Number of new subscribers
  • The number of appointments with new prospects
  • Number of deals closed and revenue generated

If these numbers are looking healthy, the sales function will be healthy.

How do your sales management processes stack up?

Where we’ve implemented sales re-engineering projects for our clients, they’ve usually seen a significant uptick in revenue and also reduced management time spent monitoring and improving the sales function.

Contact us if you know this is an area where you have potential and want to get a sense of the upside in terms of increased revenue, profit and reduced costs.

The post The Ideal Lead and Sales Management Dashboard appeared first on Marketing Results.

Lead Management Best Practices [Infographic]

Lead Management Best Practices

Too many businesses put an overwhelming focus on lead generation and not enough on turning those leads into customers.

“Let’s go out and get as many high-quality leads as we can – that’s how we’ll hit our numbers.”

But what happens when you have those leads? What’s the next part of the journey?

Lead management is the systems, practices, processes and activities that support the nurturing of a prospect from “lead” all the way through to “paying customer”. It’s the money-making part of the marketing strategy that too many businesses give very little attention to.

So while lead generation is important, without a way to nurture those leads, it’s wasted energy.

Why do you need lead management?

If you have a well constructed lead management strategy, it helps you understand where your best leads are coming from, and how you can better focus the energy of your sales team.

It also ensures that less qualified prospects fall through the cracks, because they weren’t nurtured appropriately.

Over time if you fine-tune your lead management processes with lead scoring, grading, filtering, contact touch points and follow-ups – you can begin testing and optimising the individual components of your strategy and increase the ROI from your marketing efforts.

What are best practices for lead management?

When it comes to best practices for getting your lead management in order, we have found a great infographic from the Harvard Business Review. This infographic was published on the Inside Sales blog, and is packed full of helpful information to help you with this topic.

The research behind the graphic comes from three years of data across companies that respond to web-generated leads. It tracked results of 15,000 unique leads and 100,000 call attempts, so it’s a good sample size to go off.

The focus is to visualise how businesses can better respond to leads they get on the internet, to maximise results and minimise effort.

Below the infographic I dive into the findings in more depth with some additional comments and actions.

Enjoy.

Lead Management Best Practices Infographic

This infographic was originally published on the Inside Sales blog.

Key Takeaways

Qualify leads on Wednesday and Thursday

The findings of this report suggest that the most effective time to follow up with warm leads and qualify their interest, is on Wednesday and Thursday.

And it’s not by a small margin… In fact there is a 49% difference in responsiveness between Tuesday and Thursday.

What does this mean for you?

When you are building out your lead management workflows and follow up processes, include follow up calls on Wednesday and Thursday.

For a better response, contact leads between 4 and 5pm

As well as considering the day you contact warm leads, it’s also important to take into account the best time of day to do so.

This study found that between 4 and 5 pm in the afternoon delivered the best results for the participating companies. Again, there was a significant difference in the responsiveness based on time.

For example, participants were 169% better off contacting leads between 4 and 5pm than they were between 1 and 2pm. (Perhaps due to a lunch break)

If late in the afternoon doesn’t mix with your ideal workflow for lead nurturing, consider contacting leads first thing in the morning. Between 7:30 and 8:30am is the second preference.

What does this mean for you?

Think about how this affects your team’s day-to-day workflow and structure. If you have them following up with prospects on Wednesday and Thursday, you could chunk the calls down into two slots – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Be responsive, or lose your leads

The section on response time was definitely the most disturbing section in this infographic.

The longer you leave a lead sitting dormant, the less chance they are of converting. In fact, the less chance you even have of qualifying them.

Without doubt the craziest part about this research is that a lead contacted within 5 minutes of submitting their information is 400% more likely to be qualified than a lead that is left for 10 minutes.

What that means is you have to be responsive. People want immediate attention and if they don’t get it, there are too many other factors that will help them change their mind.

Strike when the iron is hot or miss out.

What does this mean for you?

A 5-minute turnaround on an inbound sales lead is a tough ask for any business, but there are some things you can do to increase your response time and subsequently get better results from your lead management.

For example, live chat tools such as Lead Chat provide real-time engagement with your prospects and help them overcome any challenges they may have.

Marketing Results lead management live chat example

You can also setup direct alerts and chat management capabilities for your sales team, to make sure they are prepared to respond as quickly as possible when a lead is on your website, or ready to chat.

Don’t give up on a lead, they need a bit of persistence

Believe it or not, but 30% of leads in this study were never contacted at all…

Are we really investing money and resources into lead generation and then not bothering to talk to them?

Depending on the sales team you have on the ground, and how diligent they are with follow ups, it’s quite common for salespeople to give up far too early. So even if they do contact someone, it won’t take much for them to get disheartened or write the lead off completely.

In fact, 44% of sales people give up after one follow up… and 80% of sales actually require FIVE follow ups to close the deal.

What does this mean for you?

Build multiple follow ups into your lead management workflows, and use performance reviews and KPIs to make sure your sales team are making it happen.

Final Thoughts and Next Steps

Far too often lead management is an after thought. It’s a haphazard process where a lead comes in, someone calls them up and then gives up when the phone goes to voicemail.

It needs to be better than that.

The more time and energy you put into marketing your business online, the more important the management of your leads becomes.

Treat lead management just like you would any other part of the marketing equation. Drill down a process, create some workflows and build it into the performance reviews of your team.

We all know how hard it can be to get leads, so when you do, make sure you’re ready to capitalise.

How does lead management play a role in your business? 

The post Lead Management Best Practices [Infographic] appeared first on Marketing Results.

[Case Study] How A Mortgage Broker Generated 131 New Consultations With Facebook Ads

[Case Study] How A Mortgage Broker Generated 131 New Consultations With Facebook Ads

In a previous article in this series I wrote about why Facebook advertising is becoming a more critical part of the lead generation mix for lead generators and response-oriented marketers.

Now in this article I want to share with you a specific case study from an industry you may not immediately think of when it comes to advertising on social media – mortgage broking.

Background

Trilogy Funding is one of Australia’s premier mortgage brokers specialising in serving the needs of property investors. They’re also one of our longest-standing clients. We first started working together in 2005!

Within their target market of “property investors”, Trilogy further identified sophisticated property investors with at least 3 properties / $1.5M in loans as a sweet spot that they can serve better than almost any other broker.

This is a textbook application of the “80/20 Principle Squared” – they were able to get hyper-focused on the small piece of the market that generates maximum value for their firm. (You’ll find further reading on this topic over at this article on Value Proposition Formulation).

Value proposition formula - facebook ads case study

It’s an important first step to know WHO you want to target…

But it’s another thing entirely to strategise HOW you’re going to target them – and then executing on that strategy.

That’s where Facebook advertising comes in…

Key Results

Trilogy’s Ideal Client can potentially represent very high value, but they don’t grow on trees. That’s what makes these results even more impressive.

Over a period of 6 months the client was able to achieve the following with FB advertising:

  • Spend $17,358
  • New Subscribers: 1,429
  • Cost Per Subscriber $12.15
  • PLUS New Enquiries (e.g. Consultations, Contact Forms Etc.) 131
  • Cost Per Enquiry $132.50

TOTAL Goal Completions (Conversions) From Facebook Ads: 1560

Total goal completions - facebook ads case study

New Subscribers From Facebook Ads: 1429

New subscribers - facebook ads case study

Key Execution Success Factors

Facebook Advertising success comes down to much more than just the ads and the targeting themselves.

There is a whole series of elements that must be in alignment in order to achieve the best results.

Let’s unpack what some of these elements are:

Success Factor #1: A Defined Target Customer

The more specific the targeting, the more likely you are able to laser in on a buying “hot button” with your Ideal Prospect.

(The flipside of this is that the more specific you get, the smaller your audience.)

So in other words, your audience has to be big enough to be impactful, but small enough to be relevant to what you have to offer.

In the case of Trilogy Funding, some of the elements of their Ideal Customer Persona were:

  • Existing property investors
  • Multiple property owners (3+)
  • $1.5M+ in borrowings
  • Interested in better investing strategies

With a clear audience persona in mind, the right offers and funnel could be devised…

Success Factor #2: The Right Offer(s) and Funnel

Here’s a success secret of Facebook Advertising: nothing really happens until you get the prospect OFF Facebook and ON to your email list.

Facebook is a great attraction medium, but it’s typically not a great conversion medium without further assistance from your marketing funnel.

Here’s a (highly-simplified) diagram of how the Trilogy Funding funnel is constructed, with the aid of landing pages and Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft integration - facebook ads case study

  • Traffic reaches the website and their offers via a variety of sources (including Facebook ads)
  • Traffic that hits the website but doesn’t convert is then retargeted on Facebook (as one of many targeting methods)
  • Traffic is driven toward the primary lead magnet, titled “The Advanced Property Investor’s Guide To Managing Debt For Success”. (Note how the lead magnet calls out directly to the specific target market with an irresistible problem-solving statement).
  • Email nurturing kicks in, aimed at enlarging on the core proposition of the lead magnet and suggesting one of several “Next Step offers” and further downloads.
  • Next step offers include print booklets and a variety of other premium content pieces.
  • The ultimate goal is to promote a Consultation Offer which connects the advanced property investor up with a Trilogy Funding broker.

Success Factor #3: Strong Direct-Response Ad Copy

Now with the right funnel in mind, it’s time to create ads – lots of them!

Here are a few examples of some of the ads in play, showing a variety of copy elements, images and offers:

Example #1

Trilogy ad one - facebook ads case study

Example #2

Trilogy ad two - facebook ads case study

Example #3

Trilogy ad three - facebook ads case study

Example #4

Trilogy ad five - facebook ads case study

Success Factor #4: High Intensity Ad Testing

So you have your ads in place. Now it’s time to test!

At the time of writing there are 1,058 ads operating across 13 campaigns.

Facebook ads can produce markedly different conversion results based on a number of factors:

  • Targeting (of course!)
  • Image selection
  • Copy
  • Device – mobile vs desktop (mobile is BIG on Facebook)
  • Action buttons
  • Lifecycle factors (is it the first ad the prospect has seen, or the 5th ad in a series?)
  • And more

Strategy can go part of the way, ensuring that the right messages are matched with the right targeting.

But beyond strategy, it comes down to a combination of creativity and deep knowledge of what has worked well in the past in similar situations. If you need inspiration, this swipe file of 35 great Facebook ads will help.

Success Factor #5: The Right Targeting

As I’ve written previously – the right targeting on Facebook ads is critical – and Facebook offers some of the most interesting and impactful targeting methods around.

Here we tested a range of targeting methods, including:

  • Retargeting website visitors via all traffic sources
  • Existing Facebook fans and friends-of-fans
  • Lookalike audiences based on a Custom Audience “seeded” by the client’s existing email list
  • Topic targeting – e.g. people interested in Real Estate / Wealth / Investing

Usually, one or two audiences will begin to out-perform the others, allowing the focus to go where the results are best.

Success Factor #6: Re-Calibration and Expansion of Targeting

Facebook Advertising is effective, but audiences and ads can “fatigue” within a matter of days or weeks, which means re-calibration is necessary to keep results rolling in.

Some techniques here include:

  • Regularly changing up copy and creative
  • “Resting” successful creative for several weeks before re-activating
  • Shifting successful audiences to related or “shoulder” audiences
  • Expanding what’s working with lookalikes
  • Testing new landing pages
  • Bid management to maximise clicks within a given budget
  • Pausing advertising for a time and focusing on funnel nurturing

It’s a never-ending process:

Step 1 is to get a campaign up and running that works.

Step 2 is to test, measure and optimise that campaign to keep it going and growing in the face of ever-stiffer competition on Facebook.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Trilogy Funding’s success is one of many examples we could share.

While some industries work better than others on Facebook, we’ve found that almost any industry can achieve a solid Return On Investment.

But as you can see, there are quite a few pieces of the puzzle you need to have in place in order for this to work.

So after reading this article, you might be in one of three situations:

  1. Despite the success others are having on Facebook, you hate money and don’t want to try anything new. 😛
  2. You’ve never tried Facebook advertising, but are interested to get started the right way.
  3. You have existing Facebook ad campaigns that you believe can perform better with the right strategy and management.

If you’re sitting in camp #1, sorry, can’t help you there…

But if you’re in either of camps #2 or #3, the next step is to have a phone chat about your campaign objectives and goals.

Then based on where you are now and where you want to be, we’ll devise a strategy to get you there.

If you like our strategy, we can talk about us managing the whole process for you.

But regardless of what you decide, you’re free to take the strategy we develop and implement it any way you want – or not at all.

To arrange this initial chat, please contact us now.

Facebook advertising is great, but it’s only getting more competitive. Many Google AdWords advertisers wish they could go hop in a time machine and step back in time to 2006, when clicks were cheap and competition flimsy.

That’s where Facebook advertising is now. It’s cheap and effective right now. The time to act is now – not in 10 years when the opportunity will be greatly diminished.

The post [Case Study] How A Mortgage Broker Generated 131 New Consultations With Facebook Ads appeared first on Marketing Results.

How To Create Facebook Ad Campaigns That Succeed and Scale

How To Create Facebook Ad Campaigns That Succeed and Scale (1)

For over a year now, the most profitable and fastest growing traffic source our clients have been using to drive leads and sales has been Facebook advertising.

And if Facebook’s ad revenue growth is anything to go by, we’re not the only ones who are spending more on Facebook ads. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported:

The social network said advertising revenue jumped 57% in the first quarter [of 2016] to $5.2 billion from $3.3 billion.

That’s exponential growth. And one can assume that the majority of advertisers are spending more because they’re making more.

But how do you decide if Facebook ads are for you? And how do you maximise your results of existing campaigns? Read on to find out the….

Common myths and misconceptions about Facebook ad campaigns

If you don’t need to be convinced that Facebook advertising campaigns have the potential to be a worthwhile part of your digital strategy, feel free to skip this section.

But for everyone else, here are some of the common objections I hear when I mention Facebook advertising to clients (and my responses):

  • “I hate Facebook. I never use it.” Ah, yes… but “you are not your customer”. Jan 2016 data from Social Media News estimates there are over 15 million Facebook users in Australia. Chances are, your customers are on Facebook, even if you don’t think of them as being typical social media users.
  • “My customers are all over 60 – they don’t use Facebook”. Yes, they do.  Retirees are one of the fastest growing segments on Facebook. Again, out of 15 million users, there are likely to be more than a few that match your potential customer.
  • “Facebook isn’t a match for our product/service”. Now this might actually be true. If you sell nuclear power stations to governments, FB ads may not be the first place I’d suggest going for traffic. However, Facebook ads can be very effective as a piece of the puzzle in reaching B2B buyers. In fact it’s very effective if your target is a small business owner. And B2C marketing usually works very well – even for big ticket items like home renovations or home loans etc.
  • “We already have someone taking care of our social media”. OK, but by “social media”, are you referring to community management such as social updates… or advertising? Facebook’s organic reach hovers at around 6% right now, meaning… if you don’t advertise, your messages are not going to get seen.
  • “We tested Facebook ads a while back and didn’t find them effective.” I tested Facebook advertising for the first time in 2010 and I didn’t find it effective either. But things have moved on… reviewing exactly what you did before, what’s new, and what alternative approaches might work can unlock hidden opportunities.

Still Not Convinced? Check Out These Facebook Ad Campaign Case Studies

Here’s a couple of examples of clients killing it on Facebook right now.

The first is a financial services company generating 100+ consultation leads per month from Facebook ads for just $44.27 each.

This is an industry where anything under $200 cost per lead is considered sustainable and profitable.

sustainable leads data for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

So this advertiser is getting a heap of leads at about one quarter the cost of industry norms – nice!

Now here’s another example. This time from the home repair/renovation industry, where one might expect search (i.e. AdWords) to be much more effective than Facebook.

AdWords generated 26 Quote Requests in a 30 day period for $55 each:

Adwords data for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

Whereas Facebook generated an additional 25 Quote Requests for $79.67 each:

Facebook data for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

So it’s actually true that in this case, AdWords was indeed more effective on a Cost Per Lead basis. But we also need to consider the impact on overall profit.

In this case, each lead is worth around $260 in profit.

So while AdWords is cheaper, Facebook ads do deliver significant incremental profit, and are well worth including in the mix.

Now that you can appreciate the potential of Facebook adverts, let’s look at how to make your campaigns successful, as well as a few traps and pitfalls to avoid…

Top 10 Facebook Audience Targeting Methods

Facebook’s undeniable strength is the ability to target prospects in new, relevant and valuable ways.

Traditional direct mail marketers used to say that the success of any promotion is due ⅓ to the copy, ⅓ to the offer and ⅓ to the “list”.

In the case of Facebook ads, the “list” equates to your audience targeting.

Below are some of the most profitable targeting options, and when to deploy each one.

NOTE: There is “something for everyone” here.  Please don’t fall into the trap of discounting Facebook ads because some of the targeting methods don’t apply to you! The key to an effective Facebook advertising strategy is selecting and customising the right methods to fit your situation.

Targeting Method 1: “Boost” Posts To Your Existing Fans

boost post to your existing fans for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

First up, you can “boost” posts to fans of your existing business page(s). (If you don’t have any existing fans, don’t worry… the methods below will take care of that).

If you DON’T do this, then any updates you post to your fan page will only reach around 6% of your fan base.

So let’s say you have 1,000 fans on your company page. Only 60 of those fans will ever see your average update unless you “boost”.

Boosting is a low-cost way to ensure people who already “like” you are exposed to repeated marketing messages and new offers.

Targeting Method 2: “Friends of Fans”

While we’re talking about targeting your existing fans… what if you could also target all of their friends as well?

You can. And human nature dictates that “people tend to know people who are like them”.

So the odds are usually good that if you’re getting good conversion results from your “fans”, a useful extension strategy will be to target “friends of fans”.

Targeting Method 3: Custom Audience – Website Visitors

Custom Audience - Website Visitors for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

Next, you can create a custom audience from your website visitors – also called Facebook remarketing.

A simple example of this is where a user visits your website and doesn’t convert to an email subscriber, but when they log into Facebook, they see ads that promote your lead magnet offer.

A more sophisticated example is where you sync up your custom audiences with user behaviour to ensure you’re always showing prospects the next offer in your funnel.

So for website visitors who don’t convert to your Lead Magnet… you show ads reminding them of that offer and asking them to opt in.

If they’ve already opted into your Lead Magnet but haven’t yet signed up to your webinar, then that’s the next offer you show them.

And if they’ve done all of the above, but haven’t yet requested a consultation or other Bottom of the Funnel Offer, your ads would focus on that offer.

This is a strategy that we call progressive retargeting, and it is very effective at shortening your sales cycle, by pushing prospects down your funnel faster.

Targeting Method 4: Custom Audience – Email Lists

Custom Audience- Email Lists for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

Another effective and broadly applicable targeting method is to serve ads to your email subscribers on Facebook using custom audiences. (You can also do this with phone numbers).

So for example, if you have a big email list, or a database of customer phone numbers – you can upload them to Facebook as a CSV file and create an audience to whom you can show targeted ads.

Facebook will match your emails with the emails of registered Facebook account owners – and boom! A highly targeted audience is born.

Targeting Method 5: Interest Targeted Campaigns

Interest Targeted Campaigns for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

“Interest Targeted” campaigns allow you define your ideal audience by their interests, hobbies and Pages they like on Facebook. These may be drawn from their listed interests, activities, education, job titles or groups to which they belong.

Let’s say I wanted to target higher-income individuals for a financial product.

I could go to Facebook and say, “tell me everyone who likes Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Gulf Stream jets and Dolce and Gabbana”.

Then I could serve ads about my financial product to this audience, who, on average, I can assume have a higher than average income (or maybe just like bling!)

A lot of your initial research into a possible interest will be guesswork – but combined with conversion tracking, that guesswork can quickly be refined and expanded once you see which interest targeted audiences work for you.

Targeting Methods 6,7,8,9: Demographics, Locations, Hometown, Languages (and more!)

Want to target French-speaking women aged 30-40 who live in Canadian provinces other than Quebec? No problem.  Facebook lets you do that.

While demographics alone are not always super-predictive, they do give you another “lens” to overlay other targeting methods.

For example, we’ve marketed a number of financial products to Australian expats living outside Australia.

A good starting point has been to identify audiences of people who live in, say, the USA, but who list Australian locations as their hometown.

Then we overlay demographics and psychographics to arrive at a very targeted and very responsive audience.

The targeting combinations are limited only by your imagination.

Targeting Method 10: Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are a super-powerful audience expansion method.

Lookalike audiences are an algorithmic targeting method whereby you supply Facebook with a “known” audience (e.g your email list), and Facebook goes out and finds other users who are similar to the known audience. The following graphics from Facebook explain how it works:

Lookalike Audiences for how to create Facebook ad campaigns

Lookalike audiences are a great way to expand profitable campaigns to new audiences who have a high propensity to respond.

We’ve seen mixed results with lookalike audiences across our client base. Sometimes this works like gangbusters… other times it fizzles. You just have to test in your situation to see if this works for you.

4 Common Facebook Advertising Challenges

I’ll say it again: the huge strength of Facebook is the ability to target very precisely.

But Facebook advertising isn’t without its idiosyncrasies and challenges.

Here are four of the key ones:

Challenge #1: Great Facebook ads take more thought and strategy to create.

Whereas, say, Google AdWords ads can be pumped out relatively quickly and easily, Facebook ads need more copy and require images. Testing shows that plain or “stocky” looking images don’t perform nearly as well as custom-designed images. So designing images that really perform can take some brains and elbow-grease. If you need inspiration for top-performing ads, here are 35 Killer Facebook Ad Examples To Swipe and Deploy.

Challenge #2: Facebook ads “fatigue” faster.

When new audiences see new ads, they typically respond most strongly. But after a while, if you show the same ads to the same audiences, your click through and response rates plummet.

So you need to be constantly re-inventing new ads and new audiences to keep your click through rate high. This means you need to monitor and manage your Facebook account more closely than most PPC platforms.

Challenge #3: Facebook becomes an ever-growing beast that needs to be fed.

Typically, when you start out advertising on Facebook, your initial focus is on getting a Return On Investment.

But once you’re making $5 for every $1 you’re spending, the focus naturally shifts to scaling what’s working.

At first, scaling is easy – just add lookalike audiences, for example.

But once you’ve picked all the obvious low-hanging fruit, you need to get increasingly more inventive in order to find new-and-untapped audiences.

So yes, it’s challenging. But if you geek out on this stuff as we do, that’s part of the fun.

Challenge #4: You MUST have a funnel for best results.

The simplest funnel you can imagine is “Click on the ad > visit website > call or enquire”. And while this type of ultra-simple conversion process can work, it is very rarely if ever optimal.

A much more profitable approach is to focus on email list building, lower-commitment offers and nurturing first, before going for the big sale. In other words – a sales funnel.

We recommend you sharpen your Unique Value Proposition and hone your sales funnel before dropping big bucks on Facebook ads.

Next Steps and Actions

Facebook gives you a wonderful canvas on which to paint your masterpiece of lead and sales generation… but you do have to do the painting.

How you combine your conversion and funnel strategy with targeting methods, ad creative and analytics will determine your success and ROI.

Ideally, you want a few different “brains” involved – strategic people to look at the over-arching conversion process, copywriters to address the copy needs, conversion-oriented designers to nail the visual communication and ad design side – plus analytics geeks to squeeze out waste from your campaigns.

The above tips and examples will give you some next steps if you want to “DIY”.  Or you can contact us for a free Facebook Advertising Opportunity Assessment.

This takes the form of a phone-based consultation and written report outlining either a) concrete ideas for improving the ROI of your existing Facebook campaigns or b)  recommended targeting and high-level strategy for proposed new campaigns.

Then if you want help executing our recommendations, we can talk about how that would work.

But whether or not you decide to proceed with any further work together, at the very least, this Opportunity Assessment will give you concrete advice from experts who have managed hundreds of successful campaigns and have seen what works and what doesn’t.

Get in touch to find out more.

The post How To Create Facebook Ad Campaigns That Succeed and Scale appeared first on Marketing Results.

35 Best Facebook Ads You Should Swipe And Use Today

35 Best Facebook Ads You Should Swipe And Use Today

Without a doubt Facebook is a trending platform for advertising at the moment.

Everyone wants a piece of the action with 92% of social media marketers investing budget into Facebook advertising.

It’s no surprise, because organic reach on Facebook has plummeted to a staggering 6%… That means that only 6% of the people who like your Facebook page will see your updates unless you “Boost” them.

Diving into the world of Facebook advertising can be overwhelming however. On the surface the concept is pretty simple, but if you make some wrong decisions when it comes to audience targeting, ad design and positioning – all of a sudden you’ve blown your whole budget and don’t have any leads for your troubles.

So we decided to put together an epic list of the best Facebook ads to give you some guidance.

These ads are from companies with big budgets, and lots of advertising experience. They’ve done the hard work – and spent the money – on testing ad formulas, design elements and formats to run Facebook ads that deliver results for their business.

From analysing hundreds and hundreds of successful Facebook ads, we cut the list down to 35 winners.

We’ve also learnt a whole lot about what makes for a good Facebook ad along the way… As it turns out there are a set of elements that continue to turn up time and time again.

What Makes For A Successful Facebook Ad?

The best Facebook ads include a selection of these elements – some are non-negotiables.

  • Stunning visual elements (non-negotiable)
  • Focused value proposition (non-negotiable)
  • Specific audience targeting (non-negotiable)
  • Brand congruency (non-negotiable)
  • Goal-oriented objectives (non-negotiable)
  • Compelling call-to-action or offer
  • Potential benefits/results for the prospect
  • Multiple versions and split testing
  • Using faces in the visuals
  • Adequate background space and simplicity with images
  • Incorporating social proof
  • Leveraging video ads
  • Image scrolling and carousel ads
  • Humour, emotion or curiosity
  • Previewing the product/service offering

Now let’s look at some of the best Facebook ad examples and see how they measure up to that list.

1. Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace where people can list, find, and rent residential housing in over 190 countries worldwide.

The below video ad came from a strategic partnership with Disney’s Jungle Book movie.

It’s compelling because it engages the audience with a professionally developed video, and elicits excitement and emotion by tapping into childhood dreams and the adventure tendencies of their target audience.

The ad also gives a real-life preview of the unique properties available to Airbnb users. (This is their value proposition)

With over 4 million views, it’s obvious that they’ve nailed this video.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fairbnb%2Fvideos%2Fvb.324826532457%2F10153917061252458%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

2. Quip

Quip is a software product that helps you create, discuss and organise all the important documents your team is working on.

The below ad does a great job of sparking curiosity in the viewer with provocative language and some edgy connotations.

Using simple, brand congruent colours in the image, paired with a clear call-to-action make this ad easy to understand and visually appealing.

Is the language too provocative for your liking? Or have they just nailed their target persona?

B2B - Quip - best facebook ads

3. Adonit

Adonit make a touch screen stylus pen for tablets and smart phones.

In this video ad they have effectively used a “product preview” strategy to spark curiosity with their prospects.

It’s more of an education and brand awareness campaign, but it does the job very well.

Do they target too broadly with the “Everyone” suggestion at the end of the video? Perhaps.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAdonitInc%2Fvideos%2Fp.997581766955481%2F997581766955481%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

4. Real Estate Webmasters

Real Estate Webmasters create SEO-friendly websites specifically for the real estate industry.

Given the specificity of their messaging in terms of the target audience, it’s no surprise that their Facebook ads are laser-focused too. This is a good thing!

One of the most compelling things about the below ad is the use of “proof language”. Words such as “most effective” and “famous” build immediate credibility, they entice the prospect to click through and see if they are what they say they are.

The phone number in the image also enables a prospect to take immediate action and call them on the spot.

What would I change? The only distracting element in this ad example is the jargon-heavy description towards the bottom. Terms such as “Integrated IDX” and “SEO & PPC” probably aren’t necessary in achieving the outcome they are looking for, which is a click through or phone enquiry.

B2B - Real estate webmaster - best facebook ads

5. Skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of bite-sized creative skills classes.

In their Facebook advertising campaigns they use real photographs of designers at work, placing their target audience in the shoes of a buyer.

Below is an example which also includes a very specific call-to-action and price benefit for the prospect.

B2B - Skillshare - best facebook ads

6. Cadillac

It’s really the simplicity of this ad from Cadillac that makes it so good…

Everyone who sees this ad most likely already knows who Cadillac is and what they are getting themselves into, so the purpose of this ad is simply to reinvigorate buying behaviour, and create excitement.

The use of sleek colours, a message-consistent back drop and a TV quality video are all aligned to Cadillac’s target audience who are seeking status and recognition.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcadillac%2Fvideos%2Fp.10153798034539923%2F10153798034539923%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

7. Modcloth

Modcloth has a growing reputation for their social media marketing, especially when it comes to Facebook ads.

In this example they have used the Facebook carousel ad option to include multiple images – this is a high-performing strategy for ecommerce businesses, especially in fashion.

Visually these ads are eye-catching, with simple backgrounds and curiosity sparking elements such as the pineapple.

They also provide a preview of the goods, plus create a human connection with real-photos and faces.

If you run an ecommerce business, I’d recommend tracking Modcloth and learning from their Facebook ads strategy.

B2C - Modcloth - best facebook ads

8. BarkBox

BarkBox has jumped on the “monthly gift box” trend by offering a subscription service for dog goodies.

The best thing about their Facebook ads is the use of dog photos and product previews. It really puts the prospects (the dog owners) in the shoes of a buyer, and helps them see what it would be like to be a customer.

Whilst the visuals in this example are compelling, they could simplify the supporting text by eliminating some of the fluff and getting super-focused on the action they want a prospect to take.

BarkBox - best facebook ads

9. Billetto

Billetto is a UK business that helps people discover, promote and run events.

The genius of their Facebook ad below is how well it shines the light on their ideal customer, and captures the emotion associated with the end result of their service.

Again though, the supporting copy is a little confusing – they are trying to include too much information and not enough action-oriented information.

Billetto - best facebook ads

10. College Raptor

College Raptor offers a unique search engine and pairing service for college hopefuls, parents and counsellors across the US.

In this Facebook ad they are building awareness for their service with potential candidates. What makes it good is the clear definition and articulation of the problem they solve for people.

The image is a great accompaniment because it utilises stunning visuals, including their logo for brand congruency and an overlay of text that pops off the page.

College Raptor - best facebook ads

11. CoPromote

CoPromote is a network of what they call “creators”… Essentially people who produce content of some sort online. It helps these content creators expand the reach of their content by collaborating to promote them across social networks such as Tumblr, Vine and Twitter.

They do a lot right in the below Facebook ad by using an eye-catching visual that sparks curiosity and humour. It also aligns to their brand and core messaging with the subtle use of their logo and supporting text.

CoPromote - best facebook ads

12. Farmdrop

Farmdrop offers a direct connection to local produce with a service that delivers straight from the farm to a household. (At the moment it’s only based in the UK)

This ad is really a brand awareness push because the call-to-action isn’t as specific as it could be. But they do effectively use overlay text and a high-definition image to make the ad standout in the Facebook content stream. They have also done a great job of using the headline text below the image to deliver a very specific message that tells you a LOT about what the business does.

eCommerce - Farm Drop - best facebook ads

13. Nespresso

Nespresso has revolutionised the coffee industry, and it’s largely due to their smart branding and marketing efforts.

This video ad is simple yet extremely effective. It uses a basic set of colours, lots of background space and shows off their range of products. For the coffee lover, something like this would peak interest very quickly.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FNespresso.US%2Fvideos%2Fvb.232751403602108%2F438712226339357%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

14. Plated

Plated is part of the “subscription box” trend taking the world by storm… Pick your recipes, get a weekly box and cook amazing meals; is their value prop. It’s simple and enticing for the busy family or career-focused couple.

In this Facebook ad they have packed in lots of goodness when it comes to our list of elements. The visual has brand congruency, a preview of the goods, faces and specific audience targeting. They’ve backed it up with some well thought out text and a clear call to action.

eCommerce - Plated - best facebook ads

15. Josh Harris

Facebook ads aren’t just for the big brands, and this example from Josh Harris proves how effective they can be for service firms of all sizes.

What is most compelling about this advert is the use of Josh’s face in the visual, this builds immediate trust and credibility if you know who he is. Which is likely to be the case if this is a remarketing ad.

He also gets super-sepcific with who his target audience is; “SaaS Businesses Looking For Customers”. This type of specificity talks to people on a more personal level.

Education - Josh Harris - best facebook ads

16. Flok

Flok is a loyalty based app for small businesses – it’s like a punch card gone mobile.

In this ad they’ve immediately made it clear who their ideal target audience is; owners of restaurants, coffee shops, spas and salons. If you run one of these businesses, all of a sudden you’re taking notice.

There is also some great consistency in the call-to-action, making it much easier for people to make a quick decision. And the image utilises consistent colours, background space and a human face for personalisation.

Flok - best facebook ads

17. Free Restaurant Recipes

Free Restaurant Recipes is exactly what it sounds like… A website that provides heaps of recipes for free.

The reason I chose to include this ad is because the image does all the work. It’s high-quality, shows off the end result of the service and taps into the indulgent emotions of our brains.

Unfortunately they haven’t used the space for text as well as they could have by delivering a clear call-to-action and consistent message.

Free Recipes - best facebook ads

18. Freeletics

Freeletics offers an app-based training program for people looking to get into shape.

In this ad they have used some compelling visual elements and social proof to entice click throughs.

The “New” badge taps into our love for new things, and the real-life photos of fit looking males shows potential users what they could look like if they get the app. It’s showing off the end result.

As a bit of icing on the cake the strategic placement of “Join more than 6 million athletes” is a great piece of social proof.

Freeletics - best facebook ads

19. Freshly

Ok… so this is another box subscription called Freshly. The difference between this one and FarmDrop is that the meals are chef-prepared and ready to go when they arrive at your house, rather than just getting the ingredients and recipe.

I love how clear and to the point this Facebook ad is. There’s no guessing about who their target audience is or what type of service you will get by clicking on the offer. Plus they’ve stepped it up with some stunning visuals, a product preview and branding.

Freshly - best facebook ads

20. Fundera

Fundera is a US company that lets business owners search and compare loan rates.

This ad smartly uses a sliding scale graphic to let prospects know how much funding they could be getting from this site, and it’s supported with some well positioned supporting text and a clear call to action.

They’ve also used high-converting power words such as “lowest”, “safe”, “best” and “free” to entice users to click through.

Fundera - best facebook ads

21. FutureAdvisor

FutureAdvisor is an online financial advisor.

The results graph that compares an average investor to a “FutureAdvisor” is a great piece of social proof and a nice bit of eye candy. This graphic partnered with the simple but brand congruent green, supporting visual text and logo works wonders.

FutureAdvisor - best facebook ads

22. Geico

Geico are a car insurance company, but their brand positioning is typically humorous and fun – this ad is no different.

The image in this case is a bit obscure, which makes it intriguing and draws in the eyes. Plus they’ve got the logo and mascot at the bottom of the image for congruency.

Something subtle but really intelligent in this example is the use of capital letters for “GREAT” and “GEICO”. Subconsciously the brain matches these two terms together.

Geico - best facebook ads

23. GoFormz

GoFormz helps businesses take their paper forms digital and modernise their business.

What I like about this Facebook ad is the use of the before and after imagery… It’s kind of like the age-old weight loss transformation photo but for forms. There is also some clear supporting text and it’s very obvious what the business has to offer.

One downfall is the text and heading below the image which doesn’t reiterate the messaging or encourage an action.

GoFormz - best facebook ads

24. Infusionsoft

We use Infusionsoft internally and with a majority of our clients here at Marketing Results. On top of a having a great automation and CRM platform, there marketing efforts are pretty special too.

The below ad shows of the Facebook carousel option, allowing them to have multiple images and benefits within the one ad. It also does a good job of using human faces to personalise the ad and some well positioned social proof in the supporting text.

Infusionsoft - best facebook ads

25. Kabbage

Kabbage offer quick and pain free small business lines of credit.

The genius of this ad is really the image again… They have some great brand congruency with the colours and logo, plus they’ve used real people who mimic the look and feel of their ideal customers. To top it off their messaging is succinct and to the point.

Kabbage - best facebook ads

26. Men’s Health

Men’s Health used Facebook ads to run a campaign which saw a select group of their staff do a health and fitness challenge.

What makes it so well executed is the use of video ads that personalise the brand and hero their employees. Whereas what they are really saying is; “Read our publication and you could get these same results”.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMensHealthAU%2Fvideos%2Fvb.20716620340%2F10155993863905341%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

27. Metromile

Metromile is a new form of car insurance that lets you pay for how much you drive, rather than on a set rate.

You will see in the ad below they have used a recurring visual technique we’ve seen a few times now… The real-life image combined with a plain coloured background and short tagline.

The other thing they have done well in this Facebook ad is spell out their value proposition and point of difference by comparing themselves to every other insurance available. “Traditional car insurance isn’t fair… Fixed car insurance rates don’t make sense”. This positions them as unique and different, and shows prospects exactly what they have to offer.

Metromile - best facebook ads

28. Rinse

Rinse is a door-to-door laundry service for busy professionals.

The Facebook ad below combines humour with practicality by using a visual that reminds the prospect of what it’s like to do laundry all the time. The offer becomes more specific as you trace your eyes down the ad and finally read the specifics below the image.

Rinse - best facebook ads

29. Snapfish

Snapfish does personal photo printing at a dirt cheap per-photo price.

This ad gets off to a great start by skipping straight to the important information… “Get 99 beautiful 4×6 prints for 99 cents”.

That’s crazy value and a really really specific offer that anyone would understand.

If that offer doesn’t convince you then the supporting image sweetens the deal by showing you what the prints could look like and reinforcing the deal with a “Penny Prints” embedded graphic.

Snapfish - best facebook ads

30. Snickers

Sometimes the biggest brands in the world just know how to rock it, and Snickers on Facebook is a great example of that.

This video ad is a part of a campaign to build awareness about a new Snickers product. Obviously the brand is already well known so this is more of an association style advertisement that tries to position the feeling of humour and fun alongside eating a Snickers bar. It’s brand congruent and has worked for the company for a long time on all sorts of mediums.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsnickers%2Fvideos%2Fvb.20645199461%2F10153751521154462%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

31. Thrive Market

Thrive Market is all about buying organic health foods at wholesale prices.

In this Facebook ad example, Thrive are running a contest to win an entire month of groceries. Running contests are a great way to build brand awareness and rapidly grow your contacts list.

Not only is the text in this example clear and specific, but the image provides a visual look into the type of food on offer at Thrive Market.

Thrive Market - best facebook ads

32. Verlocal

Verlocal connects people in local communities by promoting local events.

What’s great about this Facebook ad is that it gets very specific about one of the events Verlocal has to offer, rather than trying to promote the platform as a whole, which is less targeted. If you are interested in cooking classes, then you’ll likely click on this ad.

Verlocal - best facebook ads

33. Walkme

Walkme helps businesses simplify the online user experience for their prospects.

Their value proposition is about user experience and that is reinforced in this ad, both in the text and the image. The ad also uses a nice overlay image, brand congruency with the logo and a real photo to personalise it.

Walkme - best facebook ads

34. Your Free Quotes

This Facebook ad from Your Free Quotes uses what looks like real-life images to put prospects in the shoes of someone who has saved money on car insurance.

The images they have used aren’t high-definition or professionally developed, but that is deliberate. They are shining a light on the customers they help, and if you happen to associate with these images you will be more inclined to take action.

Your Free Quotes - best facebook ads

35. Smaato

Last off the ranks we have Smaato…. Smaato is a mobile advertising platform for app developers and publishers.

In this Facebook ad they have combined a clear benefit (“Increase App Revenue”), with smart graphics (consistent colours, phone imagery and a world map), brand congruency (logo and brand congruent colours in the image) and some nice social proof (“10,000+ Quality Advertisers”).

If you develop apps, then raising your revenue is an interesting proposition, they know their target audience.

Smaato- best facebook ads

Conclusion

Facebook advertising is a growing trend for a reason… It has the potential to drive a big ROI for your business.

But it can be hard to grapple with if you’ve not done it before, or don’t have the budget to test things out.

The Facebook ad examples in this list are all from seasoned advertisers who have tested and seen results from their efforts.

They are a great starting point for you to shortcut your way to a successful campaign and design a high-converting ad of your own.

Still a bit unsure on what will work for you, or just want some help getting results? Get in touch.

The post 35 Best Facebook Ads You Should Swipe And Use Today appeared first on Marketing Results.