Your enthusiasm for marketing tactics is appreciated, but let’s not empty your wallet without some solid ROI. Take a gander at these six Points of Interest to guide which approaches to consider, unless you have money to burn. In that case, invite us to the BBQ.
We won’t get into the argument as to how GIF is pronounced, but with the assistance of a piece by How to Geek, we can at least explain what a GIF is and what you can do with it.
GIF is simply an image format (there are a bunch and you probably have seen JPEGs or PNGs in file names), but the GIF is special as it can become an animated image. GIF files can hold multiple pictures at once, offering a flip book-like display.
They’ve been around since 1987, but are still growing because they’re simple to share and used to add some extra “oomph” to messaging. Simply pick the GIF that’s appropriate for the situation and send it. No need to download anything. A lot of social media channels have GIF functions built in, where you can search for GIFs based on a keyword and then choose the one you dig the most.
There are also a bunch of GIF-making websites such as Imgur, Gifycat or GIPHY that offer how-tos.
Keep it 100
The 1923 book, “Scientific Advertising,” by Claude Hopkins becomes more relevant in the digital age. Sure, technology looks a lot different today than in the previous ‘20s – devices for listening to music and news weighed pounds not ounces – but the lessons in the book hold true, according to this post from Entrepreneur.
Clarity captures attention: Hopkins notes, “fine talkers are rarely good salesmen,” and the point here is your customers will quickly bounce if they can’t quickly and clearly comprehend what you’re selling or offering as a service. Edit out the flowery language.
Test, measure and tweak: “Scientific Advertising” touted the benefits of split testing. Email marketing is where this commonly happens today, seeing which subject lines entice prospects to open and click. The old approach in the book holds true: test different campaigns, chop things that don’t work and do more of what works.
Rely on the stability of the human psyche: These tactics in chapter six still hold strong.
- Everyone likes a deal but no one likes a cheaply-made offering.
- Risk-free trials alter our defense mechanism.
- Education before a free sample yields stronger results.
From blurbs to biz
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it 1,000 more times, content is a key element of converting customers, whether they’re B2B or B2C. This article from Entrepreneur solidifies that statement with nine ways to up your content game to close sales. Here’s a taste of three of those:
- Content generates more inquiries: By frequently publishing new and relevant content, you increase the likelihood of new customers discovering your business, its services and its value for them. Frequent content updates bumps the chances for return visits.
- Content gets you new customers: According to Forrester Research, prospects do 70-90% of their research before contacting a specific vendor. B2B vendor research happens online, so publish content of value in blog posts, emails, ads and social posts. Keep the salesy portion ft to avoid unsubscribes.
- Content establishes you as the expert: Become an authority figure in your area of expertise, as prospects would rather purchase from an expert. Keep your customers current on your industry with updated content including trends, news and changes, as this also lets customers know you’re keeping up with the times.
Money to burn
It’s a Catch 22, small businesses generally need to market themselves to gain a foothold in their industry, but small businesses often don’t have a ton of money to spend on marketing – especially on marketing that isn’t going to drive results.
It was fantastic to see Entrepreneur offer this helpful article for what not to spend money on immediately when starting a new business:
- Wait on logo and branding: Yes, branding will be key as will a logo so your customers know you’re you – eventually. First, let’s focus on what sets you apart from the others in your field before we blast a logo that may change umpteen times.
- Don’t cookie cut on social: Hiring a “social media expert” to immediately begin posting for you before getting to know you, what you do and WHAT YOUR COMPANY VOICE SOUNDS LIKE can be a mistake. If they’re really an expert, they’ll tell you that and not start posting five minutes ago. Also, don’t just copy and paste on every channel. They all have different uses and audiences.
- Placing ads looks easy but ain’t: Pay per click ads are a science. Don’t try to do PPC on your own without doing a lot of research, or get pros who have been doing it well for a long time to give you an estimate on how much their services cost and how much to spend on ads.
PPC VS SEO
Does your site need organic content enriched with search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? A fine, new blog post from SME Magazine defines both and offers their benefits. While this piece was written with small law firms in mind, its lessons hold true for a variety of small business types.
Content marketing with organic SEO can be blog posts, news articles and other writing that’s optimized to appear high in online searches. That happens by including relevant keywords, authoritative content, integrating images and videos and including good backlinks (hyperlinks to relevant and frequently viewed external content).
With PPC, you bid for ad space on the first page of search rankings or on a social media site, which costs you each time someone clicks on the ad. You set your own budget, and still need optimized content such as keywords. It can be very effective for gaining quick visibility and garnering leads, but is dependent on several factors such as competition on keywords, your budget, strength of your content, etc.
Your ideal choice depends on your priorities. Organic SEO works better when your budget is small, awareness is key and you have more time for customers to discover you. PPC is best for bringing in leads, but you need to have sufficient funds for a solid campaign – and a plan for follow through.
Small businesses can try both concurrently by using PPC to gain leads early on, and gradually building your SEO ranking.
Pay per click necessities
Google Analytics can be a huge time suck – and as addictive as binging a great series that just added an entire streaming season. Marketers today have long task lists, so there’s only so much time to dig into all the reporting tools GA offers. Thanks to Search Engine Journal for this piece on how those focused on pay per click ads can zoom in to reports that aid:
- Expanding audience targeting in PPC campaigns
- Expanding PPC keyword selection
- Creating additional converting Display Placement audiences
Use the In-Market Segments Report to segment by past purchasers to understand how these In-Market segments behave, sort by highest revenue or conversion rate, and layer converting audiences into PPC campaigns.
Use the Site Search Report to understand how users are searching to find what they need on the website. It can also help the overall branding team to understand if there are gaps in products offered.
Use Top Conversion Paths to help analyze and understand Top of Funnel behavior by viewing how long it takes a user to make a purchase after seeing an ad.