Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How to Find, Engage & Work with Social Media Influencers in Your Industry

Would you prefer taking travel advice from Anthony Bourdain or Rachel Ray? While I’m sure Rachel has traveled quite a bit in her day, Mr. Bourdain is a travel connoisseur. Whether it be Spain, China, Seattle, or Japan, he’s seen it all and documented most of it, so he’d likely be your best bet.

Now imagine if you were a hotel owner, and you could get Anthony Bourdain to rave about your accommodations on his social media platforms. That would be pretty game-changing for your business!

how to find social media influencers

Ok, so the chances of a celebrity of this caliber tweeting about your business are quite slim, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find social media influencers in your niche to rave about your business to your mutual target audience – but how? And who are these so-called social media influencers? This post will answer all these questions, and more! But first…

What Is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who influences others through their social platforms. When you think about influential social profiles, big names like Donald Trump and Justin Bieber likely come to mind, but the reality is that there are social media influencers in every industry and niche. This provides your business with a unique opportunity to identify, pursue, and leverage these social media influencers to grow your sales, lead flow, and ultimately your revenue stream.

word of mouth marketing

This form of marketing can be extremely powerful if done well. In fact, 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions are made from word-of-mouth marketing. Just think about your own personal purchasing history. Aren’t you more likely to buy something when someone you trust recommends it highly? Twitter also conducted a powerful study that found that 40 percent of Twitter users make purchase decisions as a direct result from a Tweet from an influencer.

To sum things up, social media influencers can help you…

  • Builder a larger brand following
  • Increase your company’s credibility
  • Bring in more sales and new leads and conversions

What marketer does not want to do all of those things? Now that you’re keenly aware of how powerful social media influencers are, you might be wondering: Who are the social media influencers in your industry? Well, I’m here to help you find them!

How to Find Social Media Influencers in Your Industry

Uncovering the influencers in your industry is the first step to growing your business with influencer marketing, but before you dive in, it’s critical to ensure you’re targeting the right influencers.

First, Determine Who You’re Trying to Influence

Who is your target audience? You likely already have a clear picture of your audience from your other marketing efforts, so now you need to dive into this audience’s interests a bit deeper to determine who they follow and where they consume information.

social media audiences

For instance, if you sell to mainly 30-something, work-from-home mothers, research who these mothers follow, where they read reviews, what social platforms they spend the most time on, where they consume news, and so on.

In order to determine your social media influencers, you first need to ensure that influencer is targeting the same audience as you. For example, if you sell SEO software, don’t just assume that the king of SEO, Rand Fishkin, is the person you need to partner with. Your audience might be much more novice and have no clue as to whom he is. Perhaps you’re better off looking for an influencer in the small business advice space.

If you have multiple audiences, you might need multiple social influencers for these varying demographics, so focus on your top selling audience first, and go from there.

Research, Research, Research!

Now that you have a clear idea of who your audience is influenced by, it’s time to actually find these people. Luckily, there are several tools that can help you uncover your social media influencers, including…


Buzzsumo has their very own influencer suite that allows you to discover, follow, reach out, and analyze influencer data. They have a powerful search engine that allows you to find key influencers around topics and locations, and additional tools to help with your outreach efforts. Buzzsumo also allows you to export influencer data so you can use it in other platforms or for reporting purposes.

using buzzsumo to find social media influencers

While Buzzsumo is not a free platform, they do offer a 7-day free trial so it is definitely worth taking advantage of that to see how influential their tool is to you.

Followerwonk (FREE)

Followerwonk is a Moz product that is completely free! This tool will allow you to discover influencers on Twitter by searching for Twitter profiles or Twitter bios with keywords. You can also further customize your search by adding a location, name, or URL.

The search results will provide a list of Twitter influencers along with their number of tweets, followers, how many people they’re following, their account age, and social authority.

Followerwonk also allows you to build a list of potential influencers to engage with. Keep organized by using Twitter lists to track these influencers and stay on top of your engagement efforts.

social media influencer tools

Hootsuite (FREE!)

My favorite social media management platform, Hootsuite, also provides a free influencer tool to use their search streams to discover social media influencers by monitoring relevant conversations. How cool is that? You can then make a Twitter list through the platform and save them into an easily trackable stream to begin your engagement efforts.


If Instagram is your audience’s platform of choice, then this is the app for you! TrendSpottr is an app created by the masterminds over at Hootsuite that helps you spot the trends (including the trending influencers)!


Photos, video, and influencers for any tag or topic can be discovered through the app, and there are also tools to engage with key influencers, see which hashtags are trending, select lists of popular tags, and share trending posts. TrendSpottr also won’t break the bank, at only $4.99/month!


You probably haven’t heard of this last one (kidding), but just doing some plain old Google research is also a good place to start finding the social influencers in your industry. Researching your audience’s interests will likely lead to LinkedIn groups, Reddit conversations, or popular blogs or websites that your audience frequently visits. Dig in and discover who your influencers are by using the most powerful search engine around.

So what now? Well that leads us to…

5 Tips to Engage with Social Media Influencers

Now that you’ve found the right influencers, how can you get them interested in you? Here are a few tips to influence your influencers.

Tip#1: Reach Out in a Non-Aggressive Manner

The first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to sloppily start messaging, retweeting, and sharing every one of your target influencer’s posts. When they see you’ve “liked” 25 of their Instagram posts from 2015, they are more likely to be creeped out than flattered.

social media deep like

Rather, make sure to put some strategic thinking and planning behind your initial outreach efforts, and allow your first message to simmer for a moment. There is no need to turn into an overly eager salesperson.

In fact, here’s one way to make this outreach process feel even less salesy…

Tip #2: Join an Online Chat Your Influencer Participates In

There are tons of online conversations going on through various platforms, and if you’re truly pursuing a social media influencer, then this individual absolutely participates in many of these conversations. How could they be an influencer by just keeping to themselves? Whether it be on Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, or niche webinars, you should be able to find where your influencers hang out online, and then you can conveniently start hanging out there too.

social media chats

For instance, Twitter chats are a great place to make your existence known to your social media influencers. These are conversations on Twitter that occur at the same time each week, and are organized by a common hashtag.

For example, there’s a #SmallBizChat, which takes place on Wednesday evenings at 8PM EST. Typically chats are led by one designated individual who provides questions to keep the conversation moving. The great thing about this strategy is that you can join these conversations, lightly participate, and as time goes on your social media influencer targets will start recognizing your Twitter handle. Then, when you actually do reach out it won’t feel random, and your social influencer will be much more likely to respond.

There are Twitter chats for virtually every industry. If you don’t believe me, check out this extensive list!

Yet, there’s one way of reaching out to social media influencers that tops all others…

Tip #3: If Possible, Make a Human Connection

Nothing tops making a real, human connection. You might be shrugging and thinking, but these are SOCIAL MEDIA people. Well, yes, I’m aware we live in a world where people often walk into inanimate objects due to texting while walking, but there will always be something to say for real human interaction. Whether or not you personally enjoy it, study after study has proven that interacting in person is far more impactful then communicating online.

So, should you just show up at your influencer’s doorstep with a 45-slide PowerPoint presentation on how you could partner together? Absolutely not! Rather, if your influencer is local, keep an eye on their social feeds to see the industry events they tweet about. Register for those same events, and try to make a natural human connection.

Come prepared with an idea of what you’d like to say, but make sure to listen and ask your influencers questions about themselves (people love talking about themselves!). Keep the initial interaction light, and exchange business cards so you can reach out later on. Someone is much more likely to respond to a nice individual they met at a networking event over a random LinkedIn message.

While it is probably not worth taking a flight to connect with an influencer in person, if it just so happens that your influencer is going to an event a few blocks from your house, then why not make the effort to meet in person?

Tip #4: Leverage Your Network

You should treat reaching out to a social media influencer the same way you treat finding a new job. Use the people you know to get connected the people you want to know!

social media marketing influencers

This isn’t a groundbreaking strategy, but it is one you might not have thought of. Search through your social media influencer’s friends and see if you have any mutual connections. Chances are the world is smaller than you think, and working in the same industry, you likely do! Then reach out to the person you have in common and ask them to make an introduction. This will ensure your social media influencer doesn’t feel caught off-guard by a miscellaneous reach out.

Tip #5: Keep an Organized List of Your Outreach Efforts

Last but not least, it is critical to track and manage your outreach efforts to ensure you’re not either overbearing or forgetting about your social media influencers. Since you’re likely reaching out to influencers at various times, it is important to keep tabs on your outreach dates and times, methods, success and/or failure of these attempts to ensure you’re making the best effort to engage with, but not annoy these individuals.

With this type of due diligence, attention to detail, and persistence in your outreach efforts, your social media influencers will be ready to engage right back in no time.

So, what now?

5 Ways to Leverage Social Media Influencers to Grow Your Audience

Now that you’ve made friends with your social media influencers, the time has come to leverage them to grow your audience. The thing to remember here is that these relationships need to be treated like your most treasured personal relationships in a sense. For instance, if a colleague asked you to grab drinks after work every few Fridays, but you never asked her to hang out outside of the office, do you think your friendship would stay intact? Absolutely not! She would stop asking, and your relationship would remain strictly professional.

So, you should ask social media influencers out for drinks? Well, not exactly. Rather you need to provide your influencers with some type of value-add on your end rather than just asking them for favor after favor. For instance, let’s say you want your influencer to write a guest post for your blog; offer to write a post for their blog in return. Or partner with them on something they’re interested in doing (which would likely benefit both parties).

So, what types of things can you collaborate on with your newly engaged social media influencers? Here are a few ideas to try!

Idea #1: Run a Joint Social Media Contest

This is a great and fun way to partner with a social media influencer and grow both of your audiences simultaneously! You may have run some of your own giveaways in the past. Perhaps you ran a promotional giveaway for a shopping holiday like Black Friday. While these are great and all, if you partnered with one of your social media influencers on a contest you could not only reduce your efforts, but double, triple, or even quadruple the number of email entries you receive!

As a foodie and nutrition graduate student, I follow a number of nutritional bloggers on Instagram, and one thing I notice is that they’re constantly doing these joint co-marketing campaigns (and convincing me to try and follow new products).

Take this example of an Instagram giveaway from one of my favorite nutrition foodies, Rachael’s Good Eats, who partnered with the nut butter bar company, Perfect Bar. Perfect Bar and Rachael teamed up to promote each other, and run a fun giveaway where Rachael had contestants simply like, comment, and follow Perfect Bar, and the winners received three free boxes of the snack bar. And man, am I disappointed I didn’t win!

social media influencer giveaway

Check out Rachael’s post – with over 10,000 likes! Clearly a success for both parties. Rachael also benefited with some love from Perfect Bar, which you can see in their post below.

social media marketing contest ideas

Idea #2: Create Something Together

Ok, fair warning – this idea comes with a bit more strategic planning and hard work, but it can really work wonders. Build something together! Whether it be a physical product or an app, creating a real, purchasable item together will tie you to your social media influencer for a much longer time, and guarantee that you’ll be gaining attention not just from your audience, but from theirs as well, on an ongoing basis.

A great example would be beauty brands collaborating with social media influencers on limited-edition products that the influencers can then promote to their large audiences on YouTube, Instagram, etc. Take Kathleen Lights, who has 2 million Instagram followers and 3.6 million YouTube subscribers. She collaborated with the small makeup brand Colourpop to create an eye shadow palette, and as you can see her audience is loving it.

collaborating with social media influencers

Idea #3: Co-host an Event

Perhaps you’re not quite ready to take the step into product creation with your social media influencers. Not to worry, there are easier ways to partner with your influencers and break the ice before diving into a full-out revenue-generating partnership. Co-hosting an industry event is a great way to form a stronger relationship with a new influencer and bring both of your companies together to share a drink and strengthen the bond.

Take the example below of a re-occurring tech event that occurs in Boston, is co-hosted by the Boston startups Appcues and Wistia. Drunk User Testing is where Boston techies get together to have a few too many drinks, try out new software features, and provide candid feedback on various beta features (the drinks help with the candid part). While this isn’t really a lead generating partnership, it starts to form the relationship, provide a place to swap ideas, and strengthen the bond between the two companies.

social media influencer events

Idea #4: Share Special Discount Codes and Offers on Each Other’s Websites

So you’ve built a bond with a social media influencer who happens to work for a company that fits very well with yours. Perhaps you own a golf course and your social media influencer sells golf clothing. This presents a great opportunity to run a special discount together. Who doesn’t love a good discount? And if your social media influencer incentivizes their website visitors to buy a round of golf at your course for a 25% discount on a new golf outfit, why would they turn this down?

how to do social media influencer marketing

West Elm, a modern e-commerce furniture company, does this well! West Elm partnered with delivery mattress company, Leesa, to incentivize people to buy Leesa Mattresses for not only a 15% discount on their new mattress, but also $50 off their next West Elm purchase. Both companies benefit due to a wider audience being exposed to their products or offerings.

social media influencer partnerships

Idea #5: Partner on a Joint Webinar or Video Series

Last, but definitely not least – if you’re in a B2B industry it might not make sense to design a product together or provide large discounts, but what may work better is co-hosting a webinar or video series. This is a nice inbound marketing approach to teaming up with a social media influencer on a regular basis to swap ideas and grow each other’s lead generation efforts.

For example, way back in the day WordStream partnered with Moz founder Rand Fishkin on a content marketing webinar. Larry Kim and Rand Fishkin are both influencers in the online marketing space, but with slightly different specialties, and this partnership allowed them each to reach a different but relevant audience.

social media influencer partner marketing

Feeling inspired? Then get out there and make best friends with all of your social media influencer crushes! The potential to expand your business to new heights with these relationships is so high, and this guide should help set you on the road to influencer marketing success.

from Wordstream Blog Feed

Tips for Scaling Your Small Business Efficiently and Effectively

Tips for Scaling Your Small Business Efficiently and Effectively written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you started your business, chances are you didn’t do it with the intention of working with high-stress levels and long hours the rest of the life. In an ideal world, many business owners have the idea to create a business and then let it run in the background without a whole lot of their own involvement.

The thing is, scaling your business in itself can be stressful and is often where many businesses fail, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. You just need to learn to let go a little bit.

I know, your business is your baby, but you must understand that there are very few things in your business that it makes sense for you to actually to do.

After owning a business for almost thirty years now, here’s something I firmly believe to be true: Your business is worthless until it can operate without you, and the only way it can operate without you is through delegation and outsourcing.

Take inventory

To begin your scaling process list all of the tasks you currently do in your business, which, if you’re just getting started, could be very long.

While this process could take a bit of time, the point of it is to understand what you can and should delegate. In the past, I’ve thought about this in two ways, so feel free to approach it in whatever way makes the most sense to you. The first approach is to categorize tasks into the following categories: work you hate, work you must do, and work you can’t do.

For each task, ask yourself if you could get somebody else to do it less expensively or with greater output than if you did it on your own. If the answer is yes, then you need to pass that work off to somebody else.

Another approach is to add values to the work you need to do, such as $5, $50, $500, $5,000. The idea here is that some work you do has greater value and is the work you should focus on and some work has little value and is the work you should delegate.

Don’t underestimate the value of outsourcing to somebody who could do the work far better than you. My bookkeeping virtual assistant charges $65/hr, and while that may seem high to some, it would take make so much longer than it takes her and wastes valuable time that I could focus on high-profit tasks related to my business. Plus, I hate doing this kind of work, so overcoming the mental block to actually get the work done takes a significant amount of time on its own.

Develop systems and processes

Let’s be real, much of the success of your business resides in the heads of your staff. So, what happens when they leave? Do they take your processes with them? Ideally, no, because you should have these processes documented.

Now, just to warn you, this part takes a lot of time up front but can save you incredible amounts of time in the long run. In order to delegate and outsource effectively, you must document your systems and processes for others to refer to. Why waste time on training numerous VAs and employees when you can have everything laid out for them to review for themselves?

You’ll need to adjust these documents occasionally, but aside from the initial development, this should really work behind the scenes for you.

Using a project management tool, such as Asana, is a great way to manage your delegated tasks and house your processes.

Focus on what matters

Small business owners often get bogged down with day-to-day tasks (I’m talking tasks as meaningless to your business as taking out the garbage) and easily get distracted with these smaller tasks.

After you come up with your inventory, start creating priorities and managing your days, weeks, months and even quarters based on doing more high payoff activities that you identified in the exercise mentioned above.

It was a great day when I was able to lock myself away and come up with a new product or service innovation, or simply get priority to-dos done without interruption. In fact, even today, I have “John Focus Days” blocked off on my calendar so that my team is aware those are the days where I’m in the zone and would ideally not be disturbed.

This is how scaling a business happens: when daily tasks are outsourced and you can focus on next steps to grow.

What you shouldn’t delegate

Now that you’ve made your list and a commitment to delegate, you also must figure out what you can’t delegate because there are definitely some tasks that should fall within your to-dos.

Even if you put together an awesome internal and outsourced team, there are a few things that small business owners shouldn’t delegate, including:

  • Culture – The core beliefs, operations, and core story are areas you must continue to nurture and teach no matter how large your staff grows.
  • Processes, overall strategy, and company vision – You must own the idea of where you are going and why you are going there, as well as how you plan to get your business there.
  • Client relationships – Sure you can have your staff run day-to-day interactions, but make sure you still show your face and keep open communication with your clients. How your clients feel about your business and how they understand the results they gain by working with you are items of great value to your business and must be guarded and practiced by you.
  • Hiring – As a small business owner, make sure you know who you have working for you. When it comes to outsourcing and delegation, this component is key.
  • Finances – You at least need to track financials and make the ultimate decisions on large expenses or investments. While I have that VA who handles bookkeeping, I insist on staying on top of key performance indicators and managing the money inside the business.

At the end of the day, in order to truly scale your business, you must work to replace yourself in two key areas – the doing of the actual work that makes money and the selling of the work that makes money. Do that, and you’ll be on your way to setting your business up for success.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

8 Common Facebook Ad Myths, Debunked

Advertising on Facebook is definitely among the best ways to get website traffic and acquire users, and absolutely anyone can do it. Among the tons of posts, videos and eBooks about Facebook ads, most are useful but, having spent over $3M on Facebook ads for various companies in different business types, I can say that some of the common beliefs about Facebook ads are simply myths which were completely crushed by my campaigns’ results.

Here are the eight most common myths about Facebook advertising that you should stop believing immediately.

facebook advertising

Myth #1: You have to laser-target your audience

Endless articles and videos out there about Facebook targeting mention how you should laser-target your audience. Facebook offers all these unique ways to target people, why not make use of the knowledge Facebook has to reach exactly and only those people who are most likely to be interested in your offer? It makes sense, but unfortunately does not necessarily lead you to the best results possible.

Laser targeting can definitely help you reach the people who are likely to be interested, but not those who are also most likely to click your ad and convert.

While Facebook offers some unique ways of targeting, it also has an algorithm that can get you killer results. You just need to let it do its job!

The Facebook algorithm is great and you should allow it to do what it was designed to do: optimize your ad sets. A laser-targeted audience will often be too small for the algorithm to work its magic, and may actually block it from finding the right people.

If you’re trying to get conversions, leads or traffic to your site, it is best to keep your ad sets broad. The size is dependent on your budget, bids and goals. Try to maintain your ad sets at a target 300K and above, and set your budget and bid according to your goals. At Oribi, we actually see the best results with ad sets targeting 300K people and above, and we just let Facebook do the heavy lifting for us. Here’s an example of two competing ad sets we tested:

Ad set 1 – Using a broad targeting of interests with an audience of 390K people.

Ad set 2 – Using a laser targeting of 89K people that are more likely to be interested in our website analytics product.

Since both ads shared the same interests, just in a different structure, they did not compete at the same time, but at similar days of the week, budgets and bids.

myths about facebook audiences

The ad set targeting the broader audience easily outperformed the narrow targeting one. While the laser-targeted ad may have reached the people that are more likely to be interested in our product, the broad ad set was able to reach the people that are more likely to click our ad and convert.

Myth #2: Facebook ads are not effective for B2B

This is probably the most damaging myth for B2B companies. B2B marketers tend to pass on Facebook ads as a lead generation channel, because it’s a social media network and “they are trying to target professionals.”

Well, those professionals you are trying to target actually spend much more time on Facebook than on any other social media channel!

It’s not only easier to reach professionals and businesses of any kind on Facebook compared to any other digital marketing channels, it is also usually the most effective channel when done right. The possibilities for B2B marketers on Facebook are endless.

In addition, Facebook’s targeting and optimization abilities are superior to any other social media network, even for B2B marketers. Facebook allows you to target users by demographic, employer, the industry in which they work, job title, annual income, office type and above all, create a lookalike audience which automatically finds people similar to your own clients – which, by the way, works like magic.

lookalike audiences in facebook ads

For example, you can create a custom audience using your clients’ emails, and have Facebook find similar people for you to target. This way, you basically let Facebook handle the targeting for you, using everything they know about the users in your custom audience.

Top that with the killer Facebook algorithm that was mentioned above, and you have yourself a mean B2B lead generation machine. For more help, check out WordStream’s beginner’s guide to using Facebook for B2B advertising.

Myth #3: You need to use smiling people in your ad images

You’ve probably heard this before, maybe from a consultant, a colleague or even a famous blogger you might be following. They all say you should use smiling people in your ads because people respond to happy people. Well, they are right, but only partially.

Using smiling people in your ads might get you good results, but not the best results!

smiling people in facebook ads

So, what will get you better results? Try to think of what would make you click on an ad on your Facebook newsfeed. In most cases, the ad will illustrate something appealing to you, that you’ll find worthy of checking out. In most cases, it won't be just an image of somebody smiling (especially not if it’s a generic image provided by a platform such as Shutterstock).

Try to create ads that will instantly make your audience understand “what’s in it for them.” In other words, what’s the benefit to them for clicking your ad? There’s a very simple reason for that. While browsing their Facebook feeds, most are not actually looking for something in particular, and they usually don’t spend too much time reading posts, especially not sponsored ones. Your image should therefore stand out and instantly spark an interest in the people who see it.

A great example would be this ad by Fundbox, targeted at small business owners, which offers to advance them cash on their outstanding invoices.

facebook advertising myths

The ad is super simple and useful. The image clearly shows the results offered by Fundbox (you won't have to wait to get paid), along with eye-catching and compelling text. Not only was it an extremely cost-effective way to get them thousands of paying customers, it also earned 10K likes and over a thousand shares, which also means a lot of free impressions. No generic picture of a smiling business owner, but it still worked great.

Myth #4: You need to invest in getting page likes

Probably the most common myth out there. So many companies invest in getting page likes and actually measure this as one of their main KPI’s, assuming it will eventually pay off since more people will see their page posts and eventually become customers. This is absolutely wrong for two reasons:

  • Just because someone liked your Facebook page, doesn’t mean he’s even close to becoming your customer.
  • Organic reach on Facebook is constantly dropping, so not even your “Likers” will see your page posts unless you boost them.

Focus on using Facebook ads to reach your real goals. Make sure to choose the right campaign objective to reach your business goals, which will usually be conversions, app installs, lead generation or traffic.

By doing so, you will not only spend your budget effectively, you will also get page likes as a side effect at no extra costs. Some people in your campaigns will click your Facebook Page link instead of your website link in the ad, some will also like it. There’s also a simple hack to turn your ad likes into page likes. When someone likes your ad, you are able to invite them to like your page as well, which they accept in many cases. Simply click on your ad account notifications button to see the list of likers.

myths about facebook ads

Myth #5: You should retarget all your site visitors

Retargeting your website visitors is always right; retargeting them all in a single ad set is wrong.

Different people visit your site through different campaigns and check out different sections of your site, or in a different step of your sales funnel; they should therefore be retargeted accordingly, with different ads, budgets and bids.

For example, we are retargeting users who already signed up to Oribi, but haven’t installed the script on their site yet, with this unique ad that was made just for them, and is targeted to make them to log back into Oribi:

facebook retargeting

I cannot emphasize this enough: Always try to segment your site visitors into different custom audiences, and target them in different ad sets. For example, you can create a custom audience of visitors on your landing pages from clicking an ad. These people already showed an interest in your offer, and are more likely to convert than mere browsers without a cause.

Another highly valuable segmentation will be to create a custom audience of people who visited your pricing page. These visitors are much more likely to become customers than those who just browsed through your homepage and left. It’s certainly worth retargeting them with an attractive offer to convert them from prospects into paying customers, and they are definitely worth a higher bid and budget than other visitors.

It’s actually very simple. Here’s how I built this audience in our account:

facebook custom audience

I simply added the URL of the pricing page, and excluded the people who already signed up.

Targeting all your site visitors is not only incorrect in terms of bids and messaging, it also wastes your budget on browsers who are on your site for other reasons and should not be included in your campaigns. Take for example people who visited your careers page. Obviously, they browsed through your site looking for a job opportunity, not to become a customer, and it makes no sense to spend your advertising budget retargeting them with your offer.

Myth #6: Right side ads are not effective

Right side ads are ignored by many advertisers who have either experienced horrible results from trying them, or heard about advertisers failing with them. But actually, right side ads can be very effective when used in a very specific way, making this assumption a complete myth.

Here’s the truth: Right side ads can be extremely effective, but only when separated into a different ad set which is set to pay for link clicks and not impressions.

The reason most advertisers get horrible results with right side ads is that they combine them in one ad set with other placements, like the newsfeed, paying for impressions. By doing so, you let Facebook drain your ad set budget on useless impressions without getting you the expected results. The right side placement is way more available for impressions since there’s less competition on it, so Facebook can show the ads to the same user at a much higher frequency. This means you will end up getting a lot of impressions, but not a higher reach, so basically the same people will see your ad over and over, which is definitely something you want to avoid when paying for impressions.

So how to do it right! Simply duplicate your ad set, and isolate the right side placement, then change your setting to be charged for link clicks (if that’s not your original campaign objective), and there you go. You’ll get tons of desktop impressions which are usually very expensive, and pay only when someone clicks on them. The only downside here is that your ads will be optimized for clicks instead of conversions.

Keep in mind that right side ads can only accommodate some of your original ad text, so you should make sure to adjust it accordingly, like we did with the ad below, which shows the appearance of the same ad on the news feed compared with in the right column.

right side ads facebook

Myth #7: Relevance score is the most important metric

Too many advertisers put so much effort into improving their relevance score, believing this to be the way to get better results, and eventually ending up focusing on the wrong metric. What you should focus on is your end results: your cost per acquired user and ROI.

A good relevance score is important, but not more so than having a good ROI, which doesn’t always correlate.

Facebook grades your ads by their relevance to the audience you are targeting, and the likes and shares are key factors in getting a high score. But just because people didn't like or share your ads, doesn’t mean it’s not getting you the CPA you are aiming for.

To explain this, let’s look at the real results I achieved in a recent campaign. My ad set had two slightly different ads, “Ad-1” & “Ad-2”, testing different headlines. The goal was to get conversions at the best possible price.

“Ad-2” had a better response, which resulted in a relevance score of 4. Well, it’s not really high, but it was higher than the relevance score of “Ad-1” which was a poor score of 3.

facebook relevance score

Had I believed in this myth, I would have instantly turned off “Ad-1”. Since I really only care about the cost per conversion, I didn’t. The cost per registration for “Ad-2”, with the higher relevance score, was almost $140 which is far from cost-effective. “Ad-1” on the other hand, was by far the most effective at only $25 per registration.

Don’t take this the wrong way: A good relevance score is definitely something you should aim for, and if I had an ad in this ad set with a score of 7 - 10, it would have probably achieved better results. You just need to keep in mind that what you should really focus on is the cost to achieve the actual aim of your Facebook campaign.

Myth #8: Facebook ads are too expensive

Let’s finish with the myth that needs to be crushed above all the others: Advertising on Facebook is too expensive.

This is wrong in so many ways. Advertising on Facebook is not only the most effective digital marketing channel (for those who do it right), but also affords great results even with a small budget of $5 per day. Clearly, $5 per day will not turn a small business into a major company, but it can definitely get them started on their way to business success.

Anyone can start off creating simple and small test campaigns to see what works best for them. Honestly, there’s no better advertising channel out there for good results at such low costs.

Final words

I hope you’ve found this article useful and that it will help you achieve killer results with your Facebook ads. I believed some of these myths, but my personal experience crushed each and every one of them.

About the author

Asi Dayan is the Head of Marketing @ Oribi, a website analytics tool dedicated to making it possible for any business of any size to become completely data-driven and easily understand their website results and reach their business goals. Asi loves helping other marketers maximize their results. He’s passionate about growth, content and performance marketing.

from Wordstream Blog Feed

Monday, March 19, 2018

Introducing the New and Improved AdWords Performance Grader from WordStream

Spring is upon us! Well, uh, almost. It’s actually 20 degrees here in Boston. We’re still digging ourselves out of the last snowstorm, and it doesn’t look like we’re out of the woods yet weather-wise…

Still! Spring means newness, and in the spirit of newness, WordStream has some exciting news for folks looking to double down on their online advertising efforts: Today marks the official launch of our new-look, way-improved AdWords Performance Grader!

To date, the AdWords Performance Grader (or “The Grader,” as we like to call it) has generated over 2 million reports, and analyzed over $14 billion in ad spend. It’s been an incredibly valuable resource to AdWords users looking to gain insight into account performance, and we’re happy to provide it free of charge. Still, we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re constantly looking for ways to help customers and prospective customers alike save money in AdWords, and learn how to advertise online more efficiently. We believe our new AdWords Performance Grader gives advertisers the best chance to do that.

Let’s dive into a few of the Grader’s exciting new features.

New performance & account structure metrics

In addition to clicks, conversions, average monthly spend, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate—the account diagnostics you’ve come to know and love—we’ve added some new account structure metrics to give you even more insight into your account performance. Now you can see all the details of your account in one easily digestible field: active campaigns, active ad groups per campaign, active ad groups, active keywords, active text ads.

AdWords Performance Grader New

In order to help you better evaluate the performance-based positives and negatives of your account, we still provide the same great performance metrics. Only, we’ve made the panel displaying them more digestible. Because the more granular you can get in determining why your quality score is so high or low, or why your wasted spend figure looks the way it does, the more accurately you can make the corresponding account-level adjustments.

New industry benchmarks for 2018: how do you stack up?

We pulled from an embarrassment of customer data—we’ll say it again: over 2 million reports, and over $14 billion in ad spend —to determine to-date advertising benchmarks for YOUR industry. Curious how active your competitors are in their AdWords accounts? Find out how you stack up based on account actions taken:

AdWords Performance Grader New

Concerned you’re falling behind in text ad optimization? Compare your account by number of active text ads, or text ads per ad group:

AdWords Performance Grader New

Wondering what your quality score benchmark should be? Competitor data is a click away: 

AdWords Performance Grader New

Our commitment to fresh data ensures you know exactly where you stand: in any given metric, at any given time.

New mobile insights for a mobile-first world

If you’re an online advertiser of any kind, chances are you know the statistics. Mobile web browsing overtook desktop web browsing way back in 2016, and the ramifications of its exponential growth continue to be felt throughout the search marketing world (see: Google Speed Update). To help advertisers stay on top of their mobile performance, WordStream is introducing a peer-based mobile scoring system:

AdWords Performance Grader New

Now, not only can you compare in-account desktop and mobile performance, but you can see how your mobile performance stacks up against industry competitors. Too often, we see neglected mobile strategies drag down otherwise well-performing accounts. Our updated mobile advertising tab is a big step toward remedying that issue.

Achieve your best click-through rate with keyword insights

With our new click-through rate (CTR) optimization tab, you can find the best and worst performing keywords in your account. See which keywords in your account perform best in terms of impressions, clicks, position, and CTR; see which perform worst; and see which accrue impressions, but no clicks.

AdWords Performance Grader New

Then, when you have a handle on the keywords in your account and how they’re performing, evaluate them against industry-specific click-through rates for your average position.

AdWords Performance Grader New

Leverage these reports to weed out the worst performing keywords in your account, home in on the keywords that are driving clicks and revenue, and compare your click-through rates with expected click-through rates in your industry.

Stay up to date on AdWords best practices

Much like our newly updated mobile advertising tab, our PPC best practices tab now comes complete with a peer-based score, seen in the form of a percentage. The rules that define search marketing are constantly in flux. Staying on top of best practices is tougher than ever. Our best practices score helps you easily visualize and track changes in best practices performance.

AdWords Performance Grader New

We evaluate your account on its ability to adhere to 10 best practices in AdWords. Where you fail to meet a best practice, we provide a diagnostic explanation as to why you’re failing, as well as a comment further elaborating on the issue. Your score is an indicator of how well you meet our PPC best practices compared to your peers. Follow our recommendations, and your score will rise considerably! See your score rise considerably, and your account performance will follow.

Check out the Grader, in all its glory!

The above updates are the result of testing, user feedback, and constant tinkering. We set out to determine how we could make our AdWords Performance Grader more valuable to online advertisers. Our goal in providing free performance reports has always been to help users assess their accounts, identify their successes, and leverage actionable insights to remedy their failures. Features users haven’t found useful, we’ve cut out. Features that have helped users save money and become better advertisers, we’ve expanded upon. We strongly believe this is our best Grader yet!

Want to evaluate your AdWords performance, and see how you stack up in your industry? Get your account graded today!

About the Author

Gordon Donnelly is a college hockey washout, failed poet, and all-around oxford comma enthusiast. He's a sucker for: fly fishing, mudslides, Jim Morrison driving around aimlessly in the desert, and the dwindling half-light of Clery's basement. Tweet him @gord_donnelly.


from Wordstream Blog Feed

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Weekend Favs March 17

Weekend Favs March 17 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • 2018 Marketing Conference Guide – The Ultimate Marketing Conference Guide provided by Digital Third Coast.
  • Passmarked – Passmarked offers a simple, all-in-one test to check if your website meets current global standards and is free of critical errors.
  • Screenshot Bin – Generate website screenshots and thumbnails at scale.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

from Duct Tape Marketing

Friday, March 16, 2018

Digital Marketing Lessons From Your Spring Break Packing List

Birds are chirping, days are getting longer, and depending on where you live, Spring is in the air, or winter is rearing her ugly head—holding …

The post Digital Marketing Lessons From Your Spring Break Packing List appeared first on Vivial.

from Local Marketing Blog – Vivial

5 Creative Ways to Find Things to Write About

Ask any content marketer what their greatest fear is, and they’ll probably say something stupid and obvious like heights or spiders or clowns (or some kind of unholy, nightmarish spider-clown slowly descending the Burj Khalifa).

What we should be scared of is running out of stuff to write about.

Find things to write about, writers block concept, struggling to think of ideas

Jokes aside, coming up with ideas for new content topics can be an absolute bastard. Many content marketers rightfully dread the content ideation process, especially those of us who write for well-established blogs with frequent publication schedules in competitive verticals. Running out of ideas is Not An Option, so what do we do?

In this post, I’m going to show you.

We’ll be examining five ways to find things to write about, whether you’re writing for a major B2B blog or your personal Medium page. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each approach including common pitfalls to avoid, before diving into some general tips to help you develop new content ideas quickly and (relatively) painlessly.

1. Find Things to Write About Using Competitive Intelligence Tools

Since we’re always telling you to rely on hard data rather than assumptions, we’re going to look at coming up with content ideas using competitive intelligence tools first.

Find things to write about competitive intelligence keyword research tools concept illustration

Competitive intelligence tools can be invaluable during the content iteration process because they can help us quantify why some content ideas are better than others – specifically, which topics are being shared and discussed most.

I don’t want to get bogged down in a platform-specific tutorial, but for the sake of example, we’re going to use BuzzSumo, but I’ll keep the concepts as platform-agnostic as I can.

First, we need to specify what keyword or vertical we’re interested in. We do this by entering our query into the relevant field. In this case, I’m going to take a look at content about… content. (How meta.)

Find things to write about BuzzSumo total social shares results screen

As you can see, the results above show us a range of useful information, but we’re most interested in the number of social shares. Why? Because the more shares an article has, the more confident we can be that another article on the same topic will also be shared widely.

Social shares are a pretty reliable indication that the article in question is pushing the right buttons. It’s important to note that social shares don’t necessarily mean the article will be positive, or even well-written; all we need to know is that many readers, regardless of the article’s angle or perspective, felt compelled to share it with their networks.

An article being shared widely across social platforms can be an indication of several different things:

  • It’s a breaking news story that got the scoop first and is being shared/cited widely
  • The article is particularly useful, insightful, or actionable
  • The writer has a unique perspective or insight into the topic
  • The opinions in the article defy conventional wisdom about the topic
  • It’s an article so bad or an opinion so controversial that people are sharing it out of anger or incredulity

With the exception of the last one, any of the preceding points are worthy of emulating in our own content.

Find things to write about Reuters news content statistics

And this is just one news outlet. Image via Reuters.

Obviously, news content is uniquely fresh and “new” precisely because it focuses on emerging or developing events, but this doesn’t help you if your publication doesn’t publish news content. As a rule, we should always be striving to produce actionable, insightful content, so the second point is kind of a no-brainer. It also goes without saying that we shouldn’t be trying to publish content that people only share because they can’t believe how bad it is, so what does that leave us with? Publishing content with unique insights into a topic, and that offers an unusual, fresh perspective on a well-worn subject.

We’ve discussed the value of contrarian content before, but it’s worth reiterating that adopting an alternate viewpoint can be an excellent way to distinguish your content from the rest of the crowd. It’s also an easy way to come up with new content ideas; simply find the prevailing points of view about a current topic in your industry, then come up with an angle that takes the opposite stance to everyone else.

Find things to write about New York Times most emailed by emotion

Remember – it’s not enough to know your topic inside and out, or be able to write well. You have to be able to identify broader trends and think creatively about how to provide value to your audience by exploring alternate angles.

A Note About Comments

Some content analytics platforms allow you to filter results based on the number of comments an article has. An article with dozens of comments could suggest that the article inspired vigorous debate, but it could also mean that the site that published the article just has a terrible spam filter.

Find things to write about toxic comments sections concept illustration

Image via Pew Research Center

Another potential pitfall of relying on the number of comments an article has as an indication of its potential worth as a content idea is that while many content analytics platforms do a fine job of correctly tallying the number of comments an article has, this tends to be more difficult to calculate accurately. There are dozens of comment systems in use across many of the most popular sites on the web, from Disqus and Kinja to Postmatic and Jetpack, and not every analytics platform can accurately capture true comment data from every commenting systems.

Basically, try to think of comment volume as an interesting secondary metric to consider rather than a reliable indication of an article’s potential as a source for a new post.

2. Find Things to Write About Using Keyword Research Tools

While we’re on the topic of tools, our next tip focuses on using keyword research tools as a way to develop new content ideas.

Regardless of which keyword tool you choose to use, what we’re looking for are relevant keywords that we may not have thought of otherwise. This can be especially helpful if, like us here at WordStream, you work to a frequent publication schedule for a popular, established blog.

There are dozens of free keyword tools out there, but we like to think ours is pretty good, so I’ll be using WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool to illustrate this process.

First, we need to choose a nice, broad initial keyword to start our search, which is sometimes referred to as a seed keyword. For this example, I went with the keyword “cryptocurrency” with no industry vertical specified and results limited to the United States:

Find things to write about WordStream Free Keyword Tool example screenshot

This search yielded some interesting results. Here are some of the more interesting keyword suggestions for my initial seed query “cryptocurrency” and their accompanying monthly search volumes on Google:

  1. Litecoin vs bitcoin – 12,100
  2. Cryptocurrency market capitalization – 8,100
  3. Best cryptocurrency to invest in – 5,400
  4. Is bitcoin farming profitable – 5,400
  5. List of cryptocurrencies by market cap – 1,900
  6. How to make a cryptocurrency – 1,900
  7. Cryptocurrency mining explained – 720
  8. Best digital currency exchanges – 390
  9. Digital currency vs cryptocurrency – 40
  10. List of cryptocurrencies by value – 20

Although the average monthly search volume for some of these keywords is vanishingly small - just 20 searches per month for the keyword "list of cryptocurrencies by value" for example - we're primarily looking for content ideas. Many of these keywords would be perfect for introductory guides, in-depth explainers, or even shorter listicles, and could easily be used as seed keywords themselves for further keyword research.

3. Find Things to Write About in the News

Despite the fact that most news these days is as toxic as a neglected Superfund site, the news can be an excellent source of content ideas.

Find things to write about CNN news headlines Manafort indicted

Hey, it’s not ALL bad news!

Recently, we’ve been producing a lot more news-based content. This wasn’t necessarily by design, but rather necessity; recent announcements like Google’s recently unveiled ad blocker for Chrome and the launch of AMP Stories are simply too important to overlook, and we’d be doing our readers a disservice by not writing about them. That said, we’re don’t tend to prioritize news stories as a rule – our readers don’t necessarily look to us for breaking stories – but by publishing more news content, we’ve been able to provide more of the kind of in-depth analysis that our readers do expect from us.

However, you didn’t come here to listen to me recommend newsjacking, so how else can you use the news as a wellspring of content ideas? By asking questions nobody else is asking.

Find things to write about net neutrality bundled packages concept

In 2014, we published this blog post on net neutrality (RIP). I pitched Elisa this post because at the time, nobody seemed to be asking how the repeal of net neutrality regulations would affect small businesses and digital marketers. Since the post was originally published, we’ve updated it several times to reflect the ongoing dismantling of the internet as we know it, which has resulted in a steady stream of traffic to this and other posts.

We took a similar approach to this post about some of the most innovative chatbots on the web. Obviously this isn’t a timely or news-based post, but it does include citations and links to content that were originally news articles. We then used this to provide further analysis about what developments in conversational agents will mean for digital marketers.

Still not satisfied? Let’s look at another example of this process from start to finish.

Below is a screenshot of headlines from the Content Marketing section of my Feedly homepage:

Find things to write about Feedly Content Marketing news page

As you can see, the top three stories in my feed are from well-known sources – the Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger, and Blog Tyrant.

Now let’s say I’m actively looking for a blog post to write, and this is the news content I’ve got to work with. Off the top of my head, here’s what comes to my mind for potential blog topic ideas:

  • Do clickbait headlines like the one in that CMI post even work anymore? Are major publishers like CMI as fatigued by intense editorial calendars as smaller publishers?

  • I have no idea what to expect from that Copyblogger story, nor what it’s even about. Maybe a post about how summaries of stories can make your audience feel? Or a guide on how to nail a summary of your article? Or a post exploring the risks of badly-written summaries?

  • All three of the top stories’ descriptions have been truncated by Feedly. What about a post on the current recommended specifications of meta descriptions? Or a list of reasons why meta descriptions aren’t as important as they used to be?

The ideas above might not be that great, and they’re definitely not ready to be pitched to an editor, but that list literally took less than five minutes to put together and it gives me a solid starting point to work with. If I were struggling to come up with an idea for my next post, the rough ideas above could all work as launch points for brainstorming a viable idea that can be developed into a more complete outline or pitch.

Remember – we’re not looking to simply newsjack our way to more traffic (but hey, if you manage, more power to you), we’re looking for opportunities to provide more depth and context to emerging stories and developments in our industry.

Once you start reading the news with content in mind, you’ll be amazed by the ideas that will come to you.

4. Find Things to Write About Using Blog Topic Generators

Before you close this tab out of disgust that I’m about to seriously recommend blog topic generators as valid content ideation tools, hear me out.

The thing about blog topic generators is that they aren’t meant to be perfect – they’re only supposed to get the rusty gears in your noggin turning, like a can of WD-40. Think of blog topic generators like writing prompts in a creative writing class. Some prompts are very good, and others are so bad they’re practically crimes against literature.

The same goes for blog topic generators.

Let’s take a look at what using a blog topic generator looks like. Below is a screenshot of HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator, one of the better topic generators out there. For this example, I entered three terms into the generator: Writing, Advertising, and Marketing:

Find things to write about HubSpot blog topic generator screenshot

After clicking “Give Me Blog Ideas!” we’re presented with the following results:

Find things to write about HubSpot blog topic generator example results

At first glance, these results are surprisingly good. To be honest, I think I could make any of these example post ideas work as real blog posts, but let’s say we want to use these ideas as the basis for some ideas of our own.

As we did with the news article examples, below is a list of content ideas I came up with in just a few minutes based on the ideas provided by HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. Again, these ideas aren’t going to break the internet with their boldness of vision, but they’re definitely good enough to bring to your next editorial meeting:

  • The Cognitive Benefits of Teaching Children Cursive: A Fast Company-style article exploring the developmental benefits of teaching children cursive handwriting skills, explaining the physiological and cognitive processes that happen when kids learn to write in cursive
  • 5 Reasons Why the Best Blog Post You’ve Ever Written Still Sucks: A how-to article examining what separates merely good content from really great content, featuring practical tips on how to be even more discerning about gauging the quality of your writing
  • 7 Ways to Make Yourself Professionally Indispensable: An in-depth, listicle-style post featuring seven actionable ways to make yourself indispensable to your manager, including learning resources where readers can go to acquire these skills and third-party data about professional skills currently in high demand
  • Why Everything You Know About Headlines Is Wrong: A blog post offering counterpoints to many of the established best practices about writing headlines, including examples of various types of headlines i.e. news headlines, ad headlines, landing page headlines etc.
  • 3 Quick Hacks to Make Your Content More Shareable: Short-form blog post featuring three highly actionable steps content marketers can take to make their content more appealing from a social shares perspective, including examples

As I said, none of the ideas above are particularly earth-shattering in their originality, but the list above only took me five minutes or so to put together. With more time, or more specific initial criteria, we could easily come up with better ideas, or more ideas, or even use the rough notes above as the basis for further research and development.

5. Find Things to Write About…In Your Old Content

Our final tip for finding new things to write about is to look back through your old content.

Reviewing older content can be a lot of fun (or an exercise in cringe-inducing hilarity) and it’s a great way to see your progress as a writer over time – but that’s not all. Going back through older content is also an excellent way to come up with new things to write about.

For example, I did a quick search for some older blog posts I’d written with a view to coming up with some new content ideas. Here are the first handful of posts that caught my eye:

Unlike our net neutrality example from earlier, none of these posts are candidates for updates – there are no timely or news-based elements to them. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t wring even more ideas out of them.

shopping cart abandonment

Let’s take the first example, a blog post about shopping cart abandonment that we published in March of 2016. Before I even sat down to re-read that post, a thought popped into my head. We’re always hearing about how mobile traffic is exceeding desktop traffic across many ecommerce platforms, and that offline conversion tracking technology is advancing rapidly to meet the expectations of today’s advertisers.

So what are the biggest potential obstacles to ecommerce conversions that are exclusive to mobile traffic?

Already, this idea feels like it has legs. Let’s break it down:

  • The topic expands and builds upon the foundation established in the original post
  • The entire angle of the post – major barriers to mobile ecommerce conversions – is based on broader trends in ecommerce
  • The post has a speculative, forward-thinking element that allows for the inclusion of timelier elements such as new data and opinion/analysis of emerging technological developments
  • Both ecommerce and mobile growth are well-established topics that resonate strongly with our core audience

See how easy this is? I haven’t even put pen to proverbial paper yet, and already I’ve got a solid idea that aligns with our editorial and business objectives – not bad for idly looking through older posts.

We’re not done yet, though. Here’s some more rough ideas I came up with based on the other posts in my initial list of older content:

  • Does Offline Conversion Tracking Go Too Far?: A post exploring emerging technologies in offline conversion tracking that asks whether these tracking techniques violate the privacy of end users
  • What to Expect From a Job Interview for a Remote Gig: An instructional post with real-life tips and tricks for what to expect from an interview for a 100% virtual/remote job, complete with advice on answering tough and unexpected questions
  • The State of Native 2018: An in-depth, long-form blog post that examines the current landscape of native advertising and advertorial content, featuring new examples, statistical data, and third-party reports/studies

Again, these ideas are hardly amazing, but they’re a start – and we had to do almost nothing to come up with them save look through some older posts. Plus, these are just rough content ideas based on my own posts; if I went through some of our older posts written by other writers, I’d have even more ideas. (Plus it’s always nice to see two- or three-year-old posts holding up today.)

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Coming up with new ideas for things to write about can be hard; smash-your-head-into-your-desk-repeatedly-until-gradually-losing-consciousness hard. It gets even harder when you write for a particularly demanding client or an established blog in a highly competitive industry. However, as we’ve seen throughout this post, it’s definitely possible to come up with new content ideas, even if you’re staring down a fierce deadline or feel completely bereft of ideas.

What other tips would you share for content producers suffering from writers’ block?

from Wordstream Blog Feed