Dec 16 2018
It’s a given that the world of marketing moves fast. Every year brings new marketing methods to engage your buyers. 2019 is no exception. Adapting to the new ground rules each year can be dizzying.
If you skim the search results for marketing trends in 2019 you’ll see that AI, virtual reality and chatbots are still all the rage. For three years (or more) we’ve heard about the benefits of these new technologies. We don’t deny the power of these new systems, but for most companies these are still inexplicable buzzwords that really don’t make sense for their business.
Rather than promote bleeding edge programs that verge on science fiction, we present 5 marketing methods to help you succeed in 2019.
Search Is Still Critical
As we all know, every purchase starts with a need or a desire.
Sometimes the urge to buy comes from an organic place: the buyer experiences a real world situation that compels them to find a solution for their needs.
Other times, the demand for a product or service is generated through the artful use of advertising, which introduces the buyer to something they never knew existed.
In both cases, the buyer starts the process with online research. That inevitably means they rely on a search engine to find information.
There is nothing new about search. What’s new in 2019 is where people go to do it.
It’s not enough to simply write blogs and optimize your site for search engine success. People now use Facebook and Twitter to explore new products. They browse through dozens of images on Pinterest and Instagram. They watch videos on YouTube. They even use voice search (“Hey Siri!”) or visual search to find more information about something they’re looking at directly in front of them.
Is your company poised to capitalize when your buyer is in the mood to explore? The answer is probably no unless you’re engaging in a sophisticated SEO campaign and regularly pushing content across a wide array of platforms. Even so, many business fail to rank where it matters most.
Our advice is to quit discounting the most fundamental behavior of buyer psychology. SEO, SEM, social media, and content marketing matter more now than ever before. Invest heavily in a multidimensional strategy that leads buyers to you.
For the last 5 years we witnessed a massive consolidation online. Facebook essentially demolished most of the early competitors in the social media world. Google not only dominated the search engine industry, they also lead the way with online video (YouTube) and digital advertising (formerly AdWords, now Google Ads). Amazon continues to break records for online shopping and now competes for music, entertainment and just about everything else.
But something predictable happened in 2018. People changed how they consume online media. Thanks to the bitter presidential election in 2016, and as a result of privacy violations across the internet, more and more consumers are diversifying where they spend their time online.
2019 will bring about more fragmentation in online behavior. People are doing more research on sites that cater to their niche interests. They’re opting in to email lists from companies they trust – while flagging as spam those companies they don’t. They consume considerable amounts of video online all over the internet. They read forums (remember those?) and participate on discussion sites like Reddit. Blogs, podcasts, alternative news sites, the list goes on and on. More profoundly, they’re spending less time on Facebook and Twitter, instead opting for Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Mastodon, Minds, Gab, MeWe, Vero, Signal and more.
This isn’t to suggest that the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and Google) are going anywhere soon. But as personal data becomes a bigger issue for consumers, people will move towards platforms where they can engage with more like-minded users and ensure a modicum of privacy.
What does that mean for you? Know your audience. Research where they spend their time online and develop a strategy for engaging them all along the way.
Personalize Your Approach
You should never send a single email to an entire database of customers. Similarly, you can’t expect a single ad to resonate with all of your buyers. If you speak to all of your customers in the same way you should expect to lose them over time. Buyers are unique. You need to treat them like it.
Market segmentation is nothing new. Even list segmentation is old news. But are you actually using all of the available tools to speak directly to each individual buyer? Are you appealing to them as individuals and offering them messaging based on their behavior online?
Remarketing methods, email marketing metrics, Facebook pixel, website behavior tracking… these are but a few of the tools that allow you to analyze the interests and preferences of your buyers. With a CRM and marketing automation platform, you can generate workflows to deliver personalized messages that leads your buyer through the funnel.
Let’s take this even further for 2019. If you are not developing engaging, original content tailored to the personal preferences of your buyers, you will be missing out on the opportunity to turn customers into brand loyalists. Certainly, buyers buy products because they need them, but brand loyalists buy products because they want them… and they won’t even consider buying from another company. That competitive edge makes your life easier and increases sales.
Original Engaging Content Means More Than Just A Blog
Research suggests that the average person is exposed to over 10,000 marketing messages EVERY DAY. Is yours breaking through? We bet the answer is no.
Everyday people scroll through their social media feed in a somewhat absent minded manner until something stands out. They’re busy. They want to be informed or entertained. They want to be amazed.
How do you stop the scroll? Make your content awesome!
If you haven’t taken content marketing seriously up to now, in 2019 you must invest in a strategy that captivates and intrigues your customers. We advise you to think beyond the blog.
The most engaging forms of content are professional quality photography and video. People by nature are visually oriented. They stop and stare when something captures their attention. This is why billboards are still effective to this day, thousands of years after the first sign was hung for a business. It’s why TV still ranks as the most dominant media form. It’s why YouTube garners billions of users each month.
We’ll take this even further. If you’re producing brand-related video and photos with a mobile phone it’s highly likely that you’re doing it wrong. Today’s consumers are smarter than that, and they have incredibly high standards for what passes as quality. A poorly lit photo or a sloppily produced video tarnishes your brand. If your product looks less than stellar how does that impact your buyer? It turns them off.
Diversify Your Ad Strategy
Earlier on we mentioned fragmentation in media consumption. It’s not that people are no longer using Facebook, Twitter, Google, et al. They’re just not spending as much time there. Much ado has been made about the limited organic reach you get these days on these platforms.
The cost to reach a greater audience has skyrocketed. It’s a sign of bad times when up to a half of a company’s ad budget goes solely to one company. It’s even more frustrating when these vendors put excessive restrictions on not only WHAT you can advertise but HOW your ad must look.
The rise in niche sites, independent social platforms, and even new search engines (hello Pinterest!) means there are many more places online to advertise your products. It’s time to explore your options. We’re here to tell you there is life outside of Google and Facebook.
There are multiple private ad networks that reach industry-specific audiences and capture buyers of niche products. There are influencers and affiliates who can drive sales with a single tweet or shout out in a podcast. And let’s not forget the tried and true standards of the analog ad industry: billboards, radio, TV, magazines, direct mail, and special event sponsorships. All of these methods give you a powerful alternative for reaching your customers.
Your Brand Still Matters
At the end of the day you still need a brand. It doesn’t even need to be hip or cute – like so many startups that flood the market. With a strong sense of identity and a good understanding of your buyers, you can use the methods in this blog to reach even more buyers than you did in 2018. While it’s easy to get distracted by shiny new objects like AR/VR and AI, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same.
What’s changed is the critical requirement to build a diverse strategy. You can’t win the game if you don’t show up to play. Buyers in 2019 will no longer give you a pass for a half-hearted attempt to win their attention. Your New Year resolution should be “Excellence in Marketing”. If you pursue it with intention, you’ll crush your sales goals and succeed while others crash and burn.
Let Divining Point tackle your marketing strategy, implementation and management. For more information, visit our services page today!
Aug 21 2018
If you’ve advertised on Facebook in recent years, you’ve seen major changes, through rapid increase—then abrupt declination—of targeting options. As advertisers, we’ve known all along that reaching people based on otherwise intimate details was standard practice on our side of the screen, but Facebook users felt differently.
No matter if your monthly spend spans several thousands of dollars towards dozens of campaigns or you’re pushing out a few hundred dollars periodically throughout the month, no advertiser is exempt from the effects of the new Facebook audience targeting changes.
So, what are these changes exactly?
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, Facebook started the process of eliminating all third-party targeting options provided by private marketing data companies. You’ve likely seen this warning message if you’ve tried to build new audiences lately:
Here’s a quick overview of these companies and the data they provided that’s now being removed:
- Acxiom: demographics, financials, job role, purchase history
- Datalogix (Oracle): auto, purchase category history, demographics, retail purchase history, subscription services
- Epsilon: business type, occupation, financials, lifestyle and interests, purchase history
When is this scheduled to happen?
The transition began back in May, with additional phases rolling out every few months.
As of October 1, all third-party data will be unavailable.
There are still a few months before the final phase, but it’s best to start preparing for this shift as soon as possible. Existing audiences with third-party targeting will be deemed unusable, so now is the time to start rebuilding your audiences!
Not sure where to start?
Luckily, Facebook offers a selection of targeting tools outside of these third-party options to make advertising on their platform effective. You can still reach your ideal customer, it just requires creativity.
- Interest Targeting: Interest targeting has been a part of Facebook advertising since the beginning, and it’s not going anywhere. It may not be as specific as the third-party data you’re used to using, but it’s still a way to reach your desired customers. Choose common interests that may relate to your product or service, whether directly or indirectly.
- Pro Tip: If you’re unsure what your customers are interested in, utilize other digital tools (think: Google Analytics) to gather some ideas.
- Demographic Targeting: If you know your customers consist of a specific gender, age range or location, use that information to your advantage and eliminate reaching those less likely to convert.
- Facebook Engagement: Those audience members who are always the first to like your posts are also likely going to recommend your business to their network, so use them to your advantage. Build an audience around the people who already engage with your business page.
- Friends of Friends: It’s not surprising that people tend to associate with like-minded people—set your audience targeting to include friends of followers, and continue to build your brand’s network.
- Email Lists: If you’ve managed to collect email addresses from existing or potential customers, you can still upload them into Facebook for ad targeting. This method tends to work best for B2C clients, as the email addresses need to be associated with a Facebook profile. It’s as easy as downloading the email addresses and uploading them into your Asset Library. For many companies, this may still be the best bet for doing direct marketing using the Facebook platform.
- App Users: Does your business have an app for customer use? If so, you’ve got yourself an additional method of targeting. Choose options as broad as reaching anyone who has opened your app, to as specific as custom segmentation ranging from device type, action, demographic and more.
- Pixel Audiences (aka Remarketing): Reach anyone who has visited your website. If you don’t already have a Facebook Pixel coded into your website, there’s no better time than now to get one implemented. Target site visitors based on specific pages they’ve viewed, how much time they’ve spent on your site, and any combination of the two. Your pixel audiences are your most accurate targeting breakdown — you’re reaching the people who have already expressed an interest in your business; so you’re just keeping your brand top-of-mind.
- Lookalike Audiences: Once you’ve captured your website’s audience via the Facebook pixel, you can create a Lookalike audience based on commonalities between those audience members.
Other opportunities to get the most from your Facebook ads
Targeting is a key factor in your ads’ success, but it’s just the beginning. Here are a few other opportunities you can take to ensure your ads perform their best:
- A/B (and sometimes /C) Testing: The best way to know if your ad is performing optimally is to run it alongside one or two variants. Facebook offers A/B testing options when setting up your campaign, so experimenting is an easy way to find the best combination of content and creative for your ads.
- Automatic Bidding: As an advertiser or business owner, we don’t often find ourselves with the necessary downtime to make frequent, manual bidding adjustments on our ads. Automatic bidding eliminates the burden and makes the adjustments on our behalf to ensure the best performing ads are prioritized in ad rotation.
- Dynamic Ads: Facebook takes remarketing (remember that pixel?) to the next level with dynamic ads by showing your audiences the specific products they’ve recently viewed. With the use of a simple ad template and a catalog of your products saved to your Asset Library, you can keep your products top-of-mind.
The loss of third-party targeting options makes advertising on Facebook more challenging, but we’re not without hope. By combining old and new targeting tactics, we’re able to find new and creative ways to reach our ideal customer.
Still not sure how to survive the new wave of Facebook changes? We understand completely. Don’t hesitate to give us a call or contact us.
Mar 07 2018
B2B business owners are people too, with personal lives and unique interests. When they log into Facebook, they don’t take off their “CEO hat” and put on their “average user” hat. They still keep an eye out for information that would improve their business. If you’re trying to reach the largest audience of CEOS possible, you can’t beat Facebook. The website Statista reported that Facebook had 239 million active users in North America in the 4th quarter of 2017. In comparison, LinkedIn had 133 million active users in the US during the same period. An extra fact in favor of Facebook is that users tend to spend more time on their platform, versus LinkedIn.
If you’re thinking, “yeah, but quality over quantity,” we hear you. But, with Facebook’s huge volume of users, your ideal customer is out there consuming content. Just by the facts above, you’re more likely to reach CEOs on Facebook than LinkedIn. Facebook users spend, on average, 35 minutes per day using the platform, while LinkedIn users only use the platform for 17 minutes per month. That’s over double the amount of time spent consuming social media on Facebook! When you do reach people, remember they’re looking to have some fun, connect with friends and enjoy themselves. Therefore your B2B marketing on Facebook should focus on your brand story and engage with users in a friendly, community-focused, manner.
Know your audience
Your social media efforts should consider your user’s goal for using the platform. Are they just relaxing on a Friday night after a long week of being the CEO? Are they just out of college and trying to find a new job?
LinkedIn is a great place for personal networking, building resumes and connections that could help them in a career, and recruiting. LinkedIn has also developed a reputation for unsolicited sales pitches, which has inspired many decision makers to drop out or limit their consumption.
Facebook is more casual in its communication; consider it the morning coffee meeting or networking happy hour. Facebook is a serious business marketplace, but with a different tone.
Use the facts below to try to pinpoint your users purpose for logging into social media.
LinkedIn offers something they call “groups” to drive interaction among users. Groups are professional forums, which are great for asking questions, responding to issues and comments, and posting information or articles that would benefit the groups users. LinkedIn also allows users to publish original content through Pulse. Combine your Pulse articles with your group interaction and you’ll be seen as a field expert.
Facebook, on the other hand, allows business accounts and pages lots of flexibility in how they interact with social media users. Business accounts can comment and respond to users and build a brand-customer relationship. More importantly, Facebook allows B2B companies the ability to distribute content directly to their audience at times when they are actively seeking to be educated, informed and entertained.
Facebook has a highly developed Business Manager for managing ads for business accounts. Facebook collects data for marketers and professionals to use for promoted posts and ads. Linkedin is trying to build a system comparable to Facebook’s, but they have a ways to go.
Facebook recently premiered a “location awareness” tool. This tool is helpful because users can opt into geofencing type advertising without needing an app. Now businesses can quickly and easily find new customers by showing ads to people who are in close proximity to the business’s location. Local awareness ads are built to be more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels like newspaper and radio, while offering more precise targeting.
Facebook also offers retargeting ads by adding a pixel to the code of your website or landing page, which can then track when someone has visited either one. Then when the user logs into Facebook, ads show up based on visited pages or user interests. Retargeting with Facebook pixel basically follows the user from your website to Facebook, making sure to show them your ad. LinkedIn has something similar with its Insight Targeting Tag, but again, the LinkedIn audience is smaller than Facebook.
In this article from marketing automation software, Outbound Engine, they detail an experiment comparing LinkedIn Paid Ads against Facebook Boosted Posts. They shared the same post on both platforms to determine which had a better ROI for marketing spending. After spending $200 for a 1-day campaign, the LinkedIn post got 44 clicks. After spending $75 on a 3-day campaign, the Facebook post got 97 clicks. Therefore, the average cost per click on LinkedIn was $4.47, while only $0.77 on Facebook. Given these results, you might jump to the conclusion that Facebook is always the winner, but the reality is that it depends.
If you just want exposure and more eyeballs on your content, then Facebook is likely your best bet and the cheapest. If you want people to see your content AND enter lead information, the two platforms are comparable. But, if your main goal is leads, you may want to think about spending the extra cash for LinkedIn. Outbound had this to say on the topic, “experience has shown that clicks from LinkedIn are 500% more likely to convert to quality leads compared to Facebook.”
Facebook and LinkedIn are both useful platforms for reaching your audiences, their ROI just depends on your goals. Before dropping a ton of money on paid ads, consider the value of new leads and/or re-engaging existing clients – you might decide that the cost is prohibitive, or that it’s a worthy spend. To get the most out of pay-to-play social ads, we suggest zeroing in your goals and deciding which metrics you’re going to track. Then you’ll be prepared to make the judgment call on a campaign’s success.