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what is retargeting

What is Retargeting (Remarketing)? Why It MUST Be a Part of Your Marketing Stack

By Acquisition, Conversion, Marketing

If you own a business that is invested in selling goods or services, then over time you would have observed how the consumers nowadays are not so much, what we would like to call ‘trusting’. Consumers today, thanks to the online world, have their reach expanded to different corners of the globe and hence are in no hurry to choose a brand the first time it pops up before them.

This observation is also backed by facts that suggest that for most of the websites, only 2% of the traffic converts into customers on the first visit. But as a brand, your focus is upon the remaining 98% of the visitors who did not convert. So, what can be done about them? How can you convince them to give your brand a chance?

Well, this is where retargeting (remarketing) comes into play, to drive the remaining 98% of the traffic back to your website with the intention to convert them. So, in this article we’ll discuss what remarketing is, why AdRoll is a major player in the space, how Facebook remarketing and google ads retargeting works, and why retargeting should be a part of your marketing strategy.

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What is Remarketing (AKA Retargeting)?

The majority of visitors to your website won’t purchase on their first visit, perhaps only 2-3% on average.

But during this visit, if you are employing Retargeting, these visitors’ desktop devices will be tagged with a “cookie.” And when this visitor visits another website on the web that is a part of an “Ad Exchange,” say eBay, then this visitor will see an ad marketing the product that they viewed initially on your site.

There are many elements to discuss in what appears on the surface to be a simple transaction, such as the cookie, ad exchange, auction, etc. but we’ll focus on high-level concepts in this article.

what is retargeting

Retargeting helps in making your brand visible to the customers who have already once demonstrated an interest in your products. It is a means of chasing your potential customers through AdRoll, Facebook remarketing or Google ads retargeting so your brand gets displayed on their screens again and again. Now, the more times your potential customers come across your brand name, the more they feel familiar, and increases their chance of becoming your new customer!

Why Is Remarketing So Effective?

Retargeting or remarketing needs to be a part of your marketing stack because it brings back to you that 98 % of the customers who leave your website without making a purchase.

It is so effective because this strategy primarily focuses on converting those potential customers who are already aware of your brand’s presence and have recently shown interest in buying your products. It doesn’t rely on their desire to return to your site, but constantly reminds them about your brand, that product they desire or your service which they have already investigated.

Thus making it easier to convert them.

How Does Remarketing/Retargeting Work?

Now that you have clearly understood what is remarketing, let us now try to decipher how it works.

Retargeting is basically a cookie-based tech that uses Javascript to follow your potential customers across the web and devices. So, assume that a customer A visits your website but because he gets distracted before making a purchase from your brand, leaves before buying anything.

Now, because of retargeting when A visited the website a small unobtrusive anonymous browser cookie dropped. Now as a result of it, whenever the cookied visitor A browses the web again to another site, the cookie informs the retargeting provider of his presence and they are instantaneously served with a personalized ad from your brand. These personalized ads are now likely to recapture his interest and to bring them back to your page.

This is how retargeting works. Simple, isn’t it? But for retargeting, a brand has to select a retargeting vendor like AdRoll that can aid you with remarketing. But before talking about it in further detail, first, let us clarify what is AdRoll and what is its role.

What Is AdRoll?

In our previous section, we discussed how Retargeting works; now let us refer back to it for a second to understand what AdRoll is and how they are different.

Now as we talked, retargeting works by dropping a code (also known as a pixel) as soon as a visitor comes to your website. After that anytime he surfs the web again, this cookie informs the retargeting vendor about his activity so that he could be pursued.
what is retargeting
Now AdRoll is one such retargeting vendor who displays retargeting ads to potential customers after they leave your site without making a transaction. It is one of the best and most commonly used platforms amongst the marketers for retargeting because it has access to advertising partners like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook Exchange, and Twitter.

This retargeting vendor, presently, works with the largest ad exchange which basically means that if you choose it as your vendor then it can pursue your customers anonymously across many web pages and social media platforms. It can aid you in following your customers wherever they go on mobile, apps, desktop and web.

AdRoll is a very user-friendly advertising platform, however, much like Google and Facebook, it is actually more complicated beneath the hood. One area that is not openly disclosed are the impression-capping settings. While most people will rely on AdRoll’s automatic impression capping engine “BidIQ,” you may start to visit sites on the web and experience an overwhelming quantity of your own remarketing ads. I’ve been to a site where I was encountered with 5 of my own ads in different ad units on the same page!?! For this reason, you may want to specify your own impression capping. And one very critical fact you must know is that your impression capping setting in AdRoll applies to EACH ad unit, not to the user, page or ad group. By setting an impression cap at “1” you may still see 3 ads on the same page in any given day depending on the ad units that that site supports. Keep this in mind.

In order to learn more about this remarketing giant, click on this link.

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Who Offers Remarketing Or Retargeting?

Apart from AdRoll, other platforms who offer remarketing/retargeting services are-

  • Google Ads Retargeting

By choosing Google AdWords remarketing you can grab the attention of your audience when they visit websites that are part of Google Display Network (GDN), or when they are browsing YouTube or while using Android apps.

  • Facebook Remarketing

With more than 1 million followers, Facebook is one of the best remarketing vendors who are present out there. The advertising possibilities with this platform are limitless if you decide to give it a chance.

  • Perfect Audience

If you are a small business who has just entered the big-game then consider selecting Perfect Audience for exploring remarketing techniques. This vendor offers solutions for Web, Mobile, Dynamic and Facebook remarketing. Additionally, they support ads in the healthcare vertical, which AdRoll may not.

Conclusion

So, by now if you have pretty much grabbed the concept of what is remarketing, what is retargeting, what is AdRoll and how does Facebook remarketing and Google ads retargeting works, then do not wait and choose your retargeting vendor soon! Selecting the right vendor will aid your brand in becoming familiar and in increasing your conversion rates.

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What is Reputation Management? – 6 Tips To Build a Positive Online Reputation & Grow Your Business

By MarketingNo Comments

Reputation, in simple terms, is what people think about a brand or person. Influencing the way people perceive your brand or business is reputation management. Often, you can sway opinion in your favor by communicating well with customers. Because this is the digital era and much of the communication with customers takes place online, reputation management and online reputation management have become virtually synonymous.

online reputation management services

WHY IS ONLINE REPUTATION IMPORTANT

​​The way people perceive your brand and talk about your brand plays a significant role in shaping your brand’s reputation. This in turn affects your product sales and business growth. Positive reviews on your products and positive conversations around your brand will boost sales and drive growth. Pretty straightforward, right?

On the other hand, bad reviews can build upon any perceived negativity and can adversely impact your business and your bottom line. There’s nothing like a bad reputation to stifle growth. So, as a business, it is extremely important to address any negative reviews in the initial stages to keep the situation under control.

What is online reputation management for your business

In this article, we will share some tips on how you can build a positive online reputation and grow your business.

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LIST OF AVENUES TO CHECK FOR MAINTAINING A POSITIVE BUSINESS ONLINE REPUTATION

As a business, it is important that you know where your business appears online. After all, these are the sites that have the most power to influence a brand, either negatively or positively. If you know where your consumers are searching for reviews of your business or leaving comments about your business, it can go a long way in helping you get ahead of the reputation management game. Fortunately, you can use these sites to your advantage by working to promote a positive image.

reputation management strategy

Reputation management manifests itself in many ways. However, we are most interested in business review/rating sites, product review sites, and social media platforms because they have the greatest impact.

Business Review Sites – Keep an eye out for these sites to help you best manage your brand’s online reputation:

  1. Google Map Reviews – Consumers write reviews for places they have visited on Google Maps. Here, they can recommend shops and write reviews.
  2. Facebook Ratings and Reviews – Facebook users give star ratings and reviews on local businesses.
  3. Glassdoor Reviews – This site allows employees to anonymously review jobs, work culture and other important aspects of companies.
  4. Yelp – User reviews and recommendations of best restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment and things to do.
  5. Foursquare – Foursquare’s purpose is to help you discover information about businesses and attractions near you.
  6. Yahoo Local Business Listings – Consumers can post reviews of local businesses online.
  7. Better Business Bureau – BBB customer reviews allow customers to post positive, negative or neutral reviews.
  8. Yellow Pages – This is a directory of all businesses where users can write useful reviews.
  9. Quora – Users can post questions about businesses and businesses can respond to queries to help build a positive image.
  10. TripAdvisor – Travelers can post reviews of various shops and businesses in various tourist locations.

Product / Service Review and Rating Sites – These review sites allow consumers to rate and review product features based on their user experience.

  1. Amazon Customer Reviews
  2. Angie’s List
  3. Pissed Consumer
  4. Trust Pilot
  5. NewEgg
  6. eBay
  7. Trust Radius
  8. Capterra
  9. GetApp
  10. G2Crowd

reputation management services

Apart from these generic business review and product / service review sites, it’s also a good idea to research and identify the most relevant review sites for your industry. For example, Finances Online is an amazing review site for B2B SaaS marketplaces, while PCMag is a complete listing of computer reviews, as well as internet, wireless, gadgets, and windows upgrades.

Monitoring both generic and specific review sites will help maintain a positive online reputation, so they should certainly not be ignored!

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ADDRESS COMPLAINTS WHEN THEY SURFACE

Unfortunately, angry customers are the ones that can have the biggest impact on your brand’s reputation. Bad reputations start like small fires with the smoldering discontent of a single customer. If not snuffed out early, that fire can grow into an inferno. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply know what users are saying. Businesses must also address complaints when they arise.

Firstly, the customer service team should handle all requests and complaints with the utmost care. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to satisfy all the service requests of every single customer. Sometimes consumers make requests that are beyond the scope of your products or services. However, businesses can satisfy customer needs based on brand promises. One of the quickest ways to start the inferno of customer anger is to forget the promises you made to your customers.

Secondly, businesses can and should focus on satisfying consumer interests by keeping track of their pain points and working hard to solve them. If you ignore your customers’ pain points, you may be sending them straight to a review site to damage your business with a complaint.

Also remember that complaints should be handled swiftly. No one likes to be stuck with a problem, so even if a solution is found, a customer may still be angry if that solution arrives too late. A slow response can also land you in bad review territory.

CONTROL YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

If you know that a customer is upset, try to catch them before they turn to the world wide web. Send them an email, shoot them a message, or even give them a call to resolve the issue privately. You or your customer service team should certainly have a protocol in place for reaching out to angry customers before they take their complaints public and damage your online reputation.

online reputation management strategy

REPAIR YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

If your online reputation is already in the red, no need to panic. There are plenty of ways you can work to repair it. First start by monitoring and addressing every single negative review, comment, or support issue on both generic and industry-specific review sites. Don’t forget to also monitor social media channels for negative comments and discussions about your brand and products.

reputation management definitions

Secondly (and most importantly) respond to negative reviews. If you work to pacify angry consumers by providing a solution, you may convince the customer to take down the bad review they posted previously. Remember that no negative review should go overlooked. After all, you never know which unaddressed negative review may catapult you into the land of bad online reputations.

BUILD YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT ENGINE

A reputation management strategy should be a part of your organization’s customer support process. To achieve this, businesses can build their own online reputation management engine. One of the most important things is to solicit feedback early and often.

Using intelligence and predictive analytics to identify attrition indicators, you can easily get ahead of potential issues and address them quickly when they do inevitably arise. Some attrition indicators are infrequent logins and minimal usage of services. Furthermore, providing periodic surveys for your customers will also help you understand their happiness quotient.With this kind of business intelligence, your customer support team can proactively contact customers to investigate and provide a customer-centric resolution.

Remember that proactivity is key. If a customer has a complaint and your customer support team reaches out passively, this will quickly damage your online reputation. On the other hand, reaching out proactively helps to minimize customer distress and maximize customer satisfaction, leading to excellent online reviews.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Managing your online reputation is of the utmost importance. Businesses would do well to monitor reviews and ratings across review sites and social media platforms to stay in the know. Remember that being aware of bad reviews and ratings is not enough; businesses must also proactively work to respond to complaints. One of the best ways to do this is to have a trained customer support team. Your team can use predictive analytic insights to understand customer pain points, and can actively reach out to customers before they post negative reviews.

 

 

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How to Inspire Walk-in Traffic

Amex Shop Small 2018 – Part III Of III: Driving Walk-in Traffic With Local Search And Reputation Management

By MarketingNo Comments

Shop Small season is almost here, folks! It’s time for small businesses to look at digital advertising, local search advertising, and reputation management to drive walk-in traffic during Small Business Saturday. In our previous post, ‘AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part II of III: Using Social Media to Drive Retail Walk-in Business’, we discussed assessing your competition, creating your sales funnel, designing assets for your online promotions and featuring your business’s Shop Small promotions on social media. Now it’s time to learn how to advertise your retail store.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

We’ve already learned how to create organic posts. Now we’ll jump right into exciting digital advertising campaigns you can use to boost retail walk-in traffic.

GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH ADVERTISING

People often search for nearby shops and cafes on Google.com or Google Maps. The neat thing about Google local search advertising is that it uses these searches to your advantage. When someone searches on Google or Google Maps, relevant ads will display that target potential customers in the area they are searching. Your ad may display if they are searching near the area where your business is located. Targeting the local community is key for Shop Small success, and Google local search advertising plays a crucial role.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

Promoting your business via Google local search ads is an easy and straightforward process if you sign up for our Google 3 pack. Google 3 pack helps local businesses thrive in the search results on your mobile phone, tablet or desktop.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

 

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FACEBOOK ADS

Facebook is the world’s largest consumer ad network, and you can access it by targeting local shoppers through Facebook ads. Their ads use location targeting which allows businesses to target people living in a particular location, people who have visited the location recently, people living within a radius of pin drop and people traveling in the location. If used correctly, this tool will help boost retail walk-ins from the local community, not just for Small Business Saturday, but for the whole year!

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Facebook also offers something called Radius targeting. It is extremely efficient for local businesses who want to target audiences based on distance to the store. For example, if you’re a bakery, you may want to set a small radius. Conversely, if you sell niche goods that are not readily available, you can set a comparatively larger radius for people who may be interested in purchasing your products.

But there are so many more ways to use Facebook to drive traffic to your store on Small Business Saturday. In fact, there are at least five more! We’ve listed them here for your convenience:

1 – INSTAGRAM ADS

Why are we talking about Instagram in a section on how to boost traffic with Facebook? Because you can now target Instagram audiences via Facebook Ad Manager. Pretty cool, right? And with an enormous user base of 1 billion, Instagram should never be ignored as a powerful digital advertising platform. Before promoting on Instagram, be sure to optimize your business Instagram account with a recognizable image, business name, interesting bio and a link to your website.

Once your profile is set up, start sharing attractive photos of your store. These can include new arrivals for Small Business Saturday, holiday shopping season décor, etc. Better yet, you can sponsor these posts and advertise to your target audience based on their demographics, location, behavior, interests and preferences.

It doesn’t hurt to explore various ad formats like photo ads, video ads, collection adverts and carousal ads. The more your experiment, the better you’ll understand how to advertise your retail store and how to drive retail walk-ins during Small Business Saturday. For more information on Instagram advertising, see our previous article on marketing your business on Instagram.

2 – GEOTARGETING ON MOBILE

As a local small business, geotargeting is crucial to driving retail walk-ins. Geotargeting is the practice of delivering different content or advertisements to consumers based on their geographic locations. One way to make use of geotargeting is to be present on apps like Waze and Yelp, where consumers search for nearby shops or local businesses.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

Waze has recently launched Waze Local which targets local and small businesses. You can promote your business on Waze by using various Waze Local ad formats like Branded Pin, Promoted Search, Nearby Arrow and Zero Speed Takeover.

Yelp is also very useful when it comes to geotargeting. Use Yelp as a platform to talk about Small Business Saturday and mention exclusive events and promotions you’ll be offering to drive more visits to your store. If you’d like to know more about advertising on Yelp, click here.

3 – CREATE EXCITING GROUPON OFFERS

Groupon may not inspire long-term customer loyalty, but it’s fantastic for driving bursts of traffic to your store. Get yourself listed as a merchant on Groupon and design exciting coupons exclusively for Small Business Saturday. Check out this quick guide on how to sell your products and services on Groupon.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

Launch your Groupon campaigns around the Shop Small season using the Groupon deal builder. Don’t forget to prepare your business and staff to handle the Groupon customers who visit, and make sure that your staff know the coupon redemption process etc.

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4 – RETARGETING

If you utilize all these strategies, your business will surely see plenty of online traffic. So what do you do with all this traffic? You nurture it, of course! Nurturing means keeping your business front of mind by consistently offering tantalizing information about your products to drive sales. You can do this most effectively by leveraging retargeting.

Based on the kind of actions the potential consumers have taken in the past, create Google remarketing ads to show relevant offers. Businesses should segment users based on their interests, preferences and online behavior so that they can show customized content to each segment. This will ensure higher conversions and retail walk ins.

How to advertise your retail store local search advertising

AdRoll is another critical tool used to retarget your website visitors. For example, you’re reading content on Deltagency.com as we speak. Over the next few days and weeks, notice how many Deltagency ads you see as you navigate across various websites on the internet.

5 – REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

Reputation management is extremely important to any business, which is why we’re doing a deep dive on this topic in our next blog post. This week, we’ll do a brief overview of managing business reputation to give you a taste. As a small business, it is important to understand how your brand is perceived among your local community and potential consumers.

A business reputation can be managed by using various social listening tools to understand what your consumers are saying about your business.

With business reputation management, you can motivate your customers to tag your store location and talk about what they like about your store on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. You can also motivate them to give positive reviews on customer review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook, Foursquare etc.

If you want to know more about Reputation Management, check out this article by Forbes on ‘Reputation Management Tips for Small Businesses’.

CONCLUSION

Digital media has grown at a rapid pace and is slowly overtaking all other forms of advertising. Even if you are operating a brick and mortar retail business, there are powerful and cost-effective digital advertising growth levers that you should be using. For just a few dollars a day you can boost conversions and eventually improve the growth rate of your business using online advertising and local search advertising.

Through promotions and posts about your brand, you can remind people who have visited your website about your brand and ensure that it stays top of mind. We hope this has helped you learn how to advertise your retail store! Catch up with us next week to learn all about reputation management. See you then!

 

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Get Social and Shop Small image

AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part II of III: Using Social Media to Drive Retail Walk-in Business

By MarketingNo Comments

In last week’s blog post titled ‘AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part I of III: Everything You Need to Know’, we did a complete overview of the Amex Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday. This week, we’ll cover the holiday shopping craze around Thanksgiving and how small businesses can use social media to their advantage during the correlating Shop Small season. We’ll also review how this can help drive retail walk-ins during the Small Business Saturday, and more! So scroll on and learn how to up your social media game this Shop Small season.

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL FOR SHOP SMALL 2018?

As a small business, start by setting up SMART goals for the Shop Small season 2018. Your goal could be driving immediate sales on Small Business Saturday or increasing overall brand loyalty. You could also use this movement to drive your social media fan following.

Every in-person retail experience should be complemented with an attractive digital experience to keep your retail business top of mind among consumers. In this article, we’ll tell you how to set that goal and accomplish it… just in time for Small Business Saturday!

 

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SPREAD AWARENESS AND REMIND PEOPLE ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Small Business Saturday was created to shift the attention of consumers from large retailers and ecommerce stores to small mom-and-pop shops. However, these small businesses are in direct competition with Black Friday sales. According to RetailMeNot, an average consumer is ready to spend approximately $700 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To get a cut from consumers’ holiday shopping budget, you must make these holiday-happy shoppers aware of your own discounts, events, and offers long before Small Business Saturday.

DECIDE ON YOUR CALL TO ACTION

Calls to action are the bread and butter of your sales funnel. They’re the pieces of text or images that call on your potential customers to take action. They then provide the means to take that action, usually in the form of a button or link. But before you can ask your potential customers to do anything, you have to figure out what it is you want them to do.

First, outline what your goals are for Shop Small 2018. Then create calls to action designed around those goals. For example, if your goal is to increase social media followers during the Shop Small season, then your call to action needs to be centered around that. You need to ensure that your sponsored posts, email campaigns etc. have clearly visible social media follow buttons. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase in-store foot traffic, your call to action should be an in store event registration. The takeaway here is to set clear CTAs based on your goals.

CREATE YOUR #SHOPSMALL OFFERS

Competing during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping season is no easy feat. After all, it can be hard to be heard over the noise of exciting offers and promotions from businesses all across the country. When you decide to compete in this space, it is essential that you also come up with exciting events and promotions to boost sales.

If your idea is too generic, there is a good chance your message will get lost in the crowd. Some things to consider are: what your competitors are doing, what your calls to action and goals are, what attracts your target audience, and so on. Your Shop Small exclusive offers are a key element in your marketing strategy for the holiday shopping season.

SOCIAL MEDIA ORGANIC POSTS

Before deciding on paid promotion, it’s important for businesses to have a reasonably good organic reach. One way to do this is to update your social media pages to show that you’re participating in the Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday. Small steps like changing your cover image and profile picture to suit the Shop Small movement will go a long way in connecting with your audience.

Post regularly on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages about your promotions for Small Business Saturday. Because this season is a festive one, social media inspiration is a piece of cake. For example, you can dress your store up in holiday attire and share photos or videos of your store’s festive makeover.

You can also use relevant hashtags like #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat, #SmallBusinessSaturday, #DineSmall etc. to attract a bigger audience to your social media pages.

SOCIAL MEDIA ADS

Organic posts may give your business a good head start, but if you want to achieve strong results on social media, you’ll need to invest in paid promotions too.

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Promote your Shop Small deals and events  through social media ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Run a combination of image, video, and sponsored posts to drive sales and increase foot traffic to your store during the holiday shopping season and Small Business Saturday.

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY

While running your social media campaigns and contests, it’s equally important to understand what your competition is doing on social media. Competitive analysis will give you an understanding of initiatives you can use to enhance your social media presence and grab the attention of your target audience.

Did you know that you can see your competitors’ ads on Facebook? This neat little tool will help you get an understanding of the kind of ads that work well in your industry. In your Facebook account, simply click on the ‘Info and Ads’ section in the left column of your competitor’s Facebook page to see all the ads that your competitor is running in any particular region.

Similarly, follow your competitors’ accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. This will give you an insight as to what they’re promoting and the kinds of events they’re hosting. This is one of the best ways to refine and revamp your social media strategy for the Small Business Saturday shopping season.

You should also keep an eye on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page for ideas.

LAUNCH SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY EVENTS

It’s not enough to know what kind of events your competitors are running. You must also host your own. Events are an essential part of your small business marketing strategy as they’ll increase traffic and store visits. Exciting events will also motivate prospects to discuss it with their friends, helping promote your business through word of mouth.

For instance, you can host kick off events to start the day-long shopping spree. Invite loyal customers and offer them goodies, snacks, and beverages. You can also host kids games, sports, coloring contests etc. to attract families who might be in the holiday shopping spirit. Whether you’re a children’s store or not, offering entertainment for the little ones is a great way to get families to come in, browse, and maybe even buy. The goodies may get them there, but your promotions, discounts, and outstanding products will surely encourage them to stick around.

MAPPING YOUR SALES FUNNEL

Once you have created exclusive offers for Small Business Saturday and have decided on the in store and online events you’re going to host, the next step is to map out your sales funnel. Create your map based on the experience and user journey path you want your prospective consumers to take.

Firstly, make sure that you have created organic social media content as well as social media ads/sponsored posts catering to audiences who are at different stages in the buying journey. Then create and add relevant landing pages to move prospects from one stage to the next. Finally, offer giveaways and discounts, and send out coupons to attract consumers to your store.

EMAIL PROMOTION

Run email campaigns to let your regular customers and leads know about various initiatives and promotions you have planned for Small Business Saturday. Don’t forget to send reminder emails to motivate prospects to visit your store on that day.

One of the most important aspects of an email campaign is frequency and timing. You can achieve a preferable frequency by optimizing email cadence. This strategy will surely help get your potential consumers excited about your Shop Small offers, promotions, and events, so don’t neglect it!

CREATING STRIKING CREATIVES FOR PROMOTION

Having discussed various channels for promoting your small business, we’ll now focus on equipping you with the right tools for promotion.

Luckily for you, American Express has pretty much got you covered in that regard. Their online Studio allows you to access ready-made templates, posters, and other materials that can aid you in your social media promotions.

In the studio, you can create custom posters and banners that showcase the uniqueness of your business and encourage your local community to Shop Small at your store. Share basic business details like business name, color schemes, type of materials required, business location, etc. by clicking on the link to create marketing materials for promoting your small business via online marketing channels like email and social media.

 

You can also use tools like Canva to design images for your Shop Small social media promotions.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The main takeaway is that consumer spending is much higher during the Thanksgiving shopping season. Getting a slice of this holiday pie is a great way to boost sales. However, businesses all across the country are aware of this uptick in spending, so getting your business out there can sometimes be tough. Using the recommendations in this article will help you attract prospective customers and make big sales this holiday season.

In the next post titled, ‘AMEX Shop Small 2018 – Part III of III: Driving Walk-in Traffic with Local Search & Reputation Management’, we will understand how to drive walk in traffic to your business with local search and reputation management.

 

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Are you ready to shop small?

AMEX SHOP SMALL 2018 – Part I of III: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

By MarketingNo Comments

Welcome to our three-part blog series on Amex Shop Small 2018. Over the next few articles, you will get some fantastic tips for the Shop Small season and Small Business Saturday.

PART I: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

In the first part, we will discuss the Shop Small movement and explain everything you need to know to get involved as a customer, as a volunteer or as a small business in this movement.

WHAT IS SHOP SMALL?

Shop Small is a nationwide movement in the United States that celebrates small businesses and helps local communities thrive. By motivating people to purchase from stores run by small businesses during the holiday shopping season, the Shop Small movement enables small businesses to stay vibrant.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the nation. Small Business Saturday is the cornerstone of American Express’s Shop Small efforts. As a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that promotes shopping at large retailers and e-commerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to visit local, small, brick and mortar stores.

Shop Small is not just about buying things from small businesses. It’s also about increasing support for local economies and promoting diverse businesses in your community.

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WHEN IS IT?

Shop Small Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday that falls after Thanksgiving in the US. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 24. If you haven’t started hearing about this year’s Shop Small already, you will soon be seeing the #shopsmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday and other similar hashtags dominating your social media feeds.

To make this event even more appealing, American Express always offers up exciting promotions during the Shop Small season. Now that it’s November, you can start taking advantage of their promotions by spending $20 or more at small business stores to get a $10 credit. For more detailed information, check out their official website to learn more about the promotions for this year.

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HOW IT STARTED

The Shop Small Movement started in 2010 when small businesses in the USA were feeling the then prevailing economic recession. That year, American Express launched ‘Small Business Saturday’ on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop at small business stores and to help divert some of the holiday revenue toward small businesses.

In the inaugural year, the city of Boston joined with American Express and National Trust for the Historic Preservation in supporting the nationwide “Small Business Saturday” campaign, designed to spur business for small merchants.

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Ironically, Shop Small is getting bigger and bigger – over the years this shopping festival has gained huge momentum among the US population. The only thing that is small about the Shop Small movement now is the size of the businesses that are participating in the movement.

WHO IS IT FOR?

The Shop Small movement is for small business owners, their employees and anyone who wishes to support their community’s small businesses.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities. They provide jobs, preserve neighborhoods and feed the local economy. The Shop Small movement supports these local small businesses and helps them stay strong.

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This nationwide movement is fueled by shoppers, Shop Small organizers (better known as Neighborhood Champions) and small business owners. Everyone comes together to celebrate their local communities because they know how much it matters.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Shop at Small Businesses – anyone can support the Shop Small movement by simply shopping small on that day. Get up and go out to shop or dine at a small local business. Check out the American Express Shop Small map to find small businesses where you can use your Amex card and support your community.

Spread the word – As a consumer who wants to support small businesses, you can spread the word about Shopping Small to your friends, invite them to shop small along with you, and talk about where you are Shopping Small on social media channels with the hashtag #ShopSmall. This will widen the reach and make your contribution more significant.

Become a Neighborhood Champion – If you would like to get more involved in the Shop Small movement, you can choose to rally for your community by becoming a Neighborhood Champion. Neighborhood champions create at least one community event on Small Business Saturday and invite 10+ small businesses in their communities to participate. This person will also receive Shop Small merchandise such as tote bags, posters, balloons and more from American Express to distribute to small businesses.

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Read more about the Neighborhood Champion program and its terms and conditions here and click here to apply to become one.

Once you register and become a Neighborhood Champion, you can visit the studio to access tons of downloadable materials, how-to videos and ideas to spread the word. Armed with these tools, planning your Small Businesses Saturday events should be a piece of cake.

Get your own small business involved – As a small business owner, promoting your business and getting involved with the Shop Small movement makes a huge impact. Not only will it help promote your business, you may also have the chance to win American Express contests with tantalizing prizes such as a $50,000 business grant or a $5,000 Helloworld Travel voucher. Not bad! To learn more about the contest participation criteria, click here.

Post your Small Business on the Shop Small Map – If you’re a small business owner and you choose to participate in the Shop Small movement, you will quite literally be putting yourself on the map – the American Express Shop Small map, that is. Visit the American Express Shop Small official page and update your business details to get posted on the Shop Small map. If you need any more encouragement, consider this: the Shop Small map was viewed over 851 thousand times in 2017, and Amex Card members spent $675 million during the Shop Small season that year.

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HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS DURING SHOP SMALL

List your shop on the Shop Small Map – First and foremost, list your shop on the Shop Small map as discussed in the above section.

Email Campaigns and Social Media Campaigns – Focus on attracting customers to your store on Small Business Saturday by promoting your business via email campaigns and social media posts. You can access ready-made templates, posters and other materials in the Studio to aid you in your promotions.

Because no business is the same, American Express’s Studio lets you customize your offline and online marketing materials for Shop Small. Provide details like your business name, preferred color scheme, business location, and request the types of materials you think you’ll need for promotion by clicking on this link.

 

Or, to get ready-made marketing materials for Small Business Saturday, simply provide your email address and sign up for Small Business Saturday® newsletters.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Now that you have a basic understanding of the Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday, we’ll sign off here until our next post which will provide more detail on how to get involved, how to build promotions and marketing materials for your small business, and how to promote your business on social media this coming Small Business Saturday.

 

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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) – Part IV: GROWTH PROGRAM OPERATIONS – Building a Growth Engine

By MarketingNo Comments

In the previous post of our Growth Hacking series titled, Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part IV – What is CONVERSION – Getting the MOST from Every Encounter’ we discussed about Conversions, A/B testing and how to get the most from every encounter a business has with the customer.

We are now in the fourth week of the Perfect Funnel Challenge series. This week, we will learn about building a growth program, culture and mindset. If you haven’t already, take a moment and sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE so that you can see firsthand what a best-practices Funnel looks like.

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GROWTH CULTURE

Inculcating a growth culture in your organization is essential for building a growth engine and boosting your business. As a business you need to find the fuel for your growth engine and that is not a simple process. Companies that consistently show top line growth have an investor mindset. Basically, they squeeze funds from underperforming areas and allocate these funds to areas with high scope.

Growth culture starts at the top. The leadership team must ensure in creating a culture of growth by making experimentation a part of everyone’s jobs. Only when individuals are motivated to experiment and try out different things, they would know which are the high performance initiatives and which areas have higher potential.

Such experimentations would result in continual improvement across the organization. Emphasize the importance of experimentation, constant improvements to all the stakeholders of your organization.

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GROWTH HACKING TEAM

Companies have started embracing a new role, Growth Manager or Growth Hacker and also a growth hacking team. Their role in the organization would be to define company’s growth plan, implement growth programs and optimize the sales funnel.

An internal growth team is important but having said that fresh outside perspectives and expertise are also necessary to enhance business growth. As it’s rightly said, homegrown is good but sometimes they ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’.

However only larger enterprises hire a dedicated Growth team or seek growth consultants who charge a fortune. Small businesses should integrate the growth culture into every role. New ideas and experiments by employees should be given embraced. Bonuses could be announced to motivate them to experiment different initiatives. Successful initiatives could be highlighted and rewarded.

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KPIs or KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Defining the right KPIs is critical for a company’s success. Top management should identify the important goals for the company. Once the overall company’s primary goals and KPIs are identified, the next steps would be cascading down the KPIs to groups or Line of Business (LOBs); then to individuals and then finally to campaigns or initiatives.

Cascading could be through functional structure of your organization or through business processes of your organization. It is important to cascade KPIs to support functions like finance or HR too.

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While cascading KPIs the management should ensure that everyone in the organization should have one primary KPI against which their performance is measure. It is equally important to make sure that businesses should not cascade by duplicating the efforts or measure, instead they should cascade by building the cause-effect chain.

All marketing or sales campaigns and initiatives should also have one primary KPI to measure their success. Businesses should create a visual model of how the KPIs relate to business goals at each level in the organization. The KPI flow should be such that every individual’s KPIs feed up to groups’ and LOB’s KPIs and then these finally map on to the KPIs of the organization.

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SET UP BASELINES AND DECIDE ON THE LIFT %

Establish baselines for your business goals and these baselines will act as a starting point. Before you begin implementing actions that would help your business improve growth, you must first establish a baseline. Baselines are metrics that show your business performance. For instance, if you consider your social media profiles, number of fans, likes, comments, shares are the metrics you should set baselines for.

Once you set baseline values, decide on the lift you want to achieve. For example, if your baseline Facebook fans is 20000 and you want to lift it by 10% to reach 22000 fans in 6 months.

Post your KPI metrics along with the baselines and expected lift at highly visible places in your office, so that everyone knows what are the higher level KPIs for the organization as a whole and what are the KPIs for their respective team like the marketing team, etc. It is a great idea to have a whiteboard or a video screen to report baselines, results, positive or negative changes on the key metrics.

Online KPI dashboards like Geckoboard also make it easier for organizations to create tailor made dashboards for different teams. These online dashboards can then be displayed on a TV with minimum fuss.

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GROWTH EXPERIMENT TRACKING TOOLS

Tracking various growth experiments is critical in knowing how different experiments have performed and which are the ones that yield desired results. One of the best options for tracking your experiments would be to build your own tool in Google sheets. This doesn’t involve any costs and you can customize as per the requirements of various teams in your organization. You can learn more about how to keep track of your growth experiments with Google sheets here. Airtable’s Growth Experiment Chart is a brilliant example that you could refer.

Trello is also yet another popular tool for tracking tasks. You can track all your growth experiments from inception to completion without spending a dime using Trello. Their growth template is quite popular. You will be able to monitor experiments real time to get an idea of how they are performing.

Asana is another tool that can be repurposed to track growth projects and tasks. Asana facilitates connected work with your teammates, saving time and improving collaboration.

Northstar by GrowthHackers.com is an amazing tool that aids discovering new and better ways to accelerate growth. However this is an expensive tool and large enterprises are ones who predominantly use this tool.

Focus on High Impact Opportunities

 

A/B TESTING AND MULTIVARIATE TESTING PLATFORMS

Businesses could analyse various platforms where they can track their growth experiments. Google Optimize is Google’s new website testing and experimentation platform, a free tool that facilitates tracking and testing your experiments. Watch this video to see an overview of how the tool works. It is definitely great to get your feet wet and A/B test your experiments to optimize performance.

Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), Unbounce and Optimizely are other great experimentation platforms or A/B testing tools available in the market.

 

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GROWTH PROGRAM PROCESS AND PRIORITIZATION

The growth engine process is simple. You start by indicating the metrics you want to focus on improving. Then evaluate how your growth engine is impacting the selected set of metrics. And finally validate the experiments based on how successful they were and focus on scaling your best opportunities.

Businesses may have several growth experiments that they have to run and test. Hence it is important for businesses to prioritize experimentation tasks based on their expected impact and level of efforts required. Certain tasks have higher confidence levels based on their likelihood of success while the rest may have average or low confidence.

 

DURATION OF GROWTH EXPERIMENTS

Now that you have a wide range of ideas to set up growth experiments, what is the ideal recommended duration for growth experiments. The majority of experiments won’t reach statistical significance. Generally, they yield only directional results, so you should specify with certainty (e.g. 95%) as to whether the particular experiment can be declared as a success or failure. The recommended duration for running various tests is around 4 weeks or 28 days. This is the suggested best practice that is followed by large businesses like Google.

REPORTING RESULTS

Businesses could opt for hypothesis testing for various growth experiments. It is of utmost importance to share the results of the testing with the team so that they can understand the impact of the initiatives taken. It is also equally important to talk about the recommended follow up actions that have to be taken.

Employees should know what these tests proved and what you’ll be doing next or what are the kind of tests to run in future. While explaining the outcome to the team members, always tie impact with the identified KPIs like revenue growth, CPA etc. Results have to be reported to the organization using whiteboards or geckoboard.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Growth culture is important and has to be imparted across various levels in the organization. This mindset will drive experimentation attitude among all individuals in your team and successful experiments in-turn would fuel business growth.

This is the end of this 4 part series on growth hacking for SaaS, SMB’s and Start-ups. We hope this was helpful.

Hurry and sign up for our Perfect Funnel Challenge. In our next article , we will be starting a 3 part series on the AMEX Small Shop 2018.

 

 

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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) Part III: What is CONVERSION? – Getting the MOST from Every Encounter

By MarketingNo Comments

Welcome to the 3rd week of the Perfect Funnel Challenge series. Hurry and get your copy of the Funnel guide soon! In last week’s article ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) Part II: What is Funnel? The Right Customer, the Right Message in the Right Channel’, we learned about sales funnel mapping, the AIDA model and various approaches that will help you drive different buyer personas from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

This week we will cover Conversions, their importance and how to get the most from every encounter a business has with the customer. After reading this article you will be able to understand the evolution of marketing programs and the shift towards A/B testing.

WHAT IS A CONVERSION?

The most common misconception about a conversion is that it only takes the form of a purchase or a sale. If we explain it like a logical reasoning question, then we can say ‘all purchases are conversions, but not all conversions are purchases.’ Conversion simply means that someone has graduated to the next phase of your sales funnel. This often takes place long before an actual sale.

In its essence, a conversion has occurred when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, like signing up for your email newsletter, filling out a form, downloading a resource or making a purchase. Goals and their accompanying conversions vary depending on the campaign and business, and can be as simple as opening an email or clicking on a particular link. Basically, conversions are the stepping stones that help companies achieve their main aims.

WHY IS A CONVERSION IMPORTANT?

Conversions serve as indicators to help businesses separate window shoppers from truly potential customers. They also help you understand which stage of the buying journey your website visitor is in based on the action they’re taking on your website.

On a grander scale, conversions help businesses understand if their overall marketing funnel is working as intended. When analyzed, conversions helps business owners identify where there might be leaks in the sales funnel, and gives them the tools to patch it up. For example, if you see a high percentage of customers falling off at the demo stage of the funnel, that will tell you what needs to be fixed. With a properly functioning sales funnel, cued by conversions, you can drive more sales.

ONBOARDING – GETTING A NEW CUSTOMER UP AND RUNNING

Once a customer has bestowed faith in your business by purchaing your products or services, it then becomes your responsibility to ensure that your customer achieves their desired outcome.

Just like any first impression, the initial contact your new customer has with your brand will set the tone for the business-customer relationship. If their initial impression is a bad one, it could all but kill your business. Having a smooth customer onboarding program is one of the best ways to set the tone to that perfect pitch of customer satisfaction.

Your business onboarding process should make sure that there is a smooth transition from the sales team to the project management team. You should also make it your business to understand your consumers’ preferences and to get to know them well. Identify and sort out challenges that may crop up during the onboarding process so that when you do get a customer, you’ll be able to help them achieve their desired goals with your products or services.

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ACTIVATION – DRIVING CUSTOMERS TO USE YOUR PRODUCTS AFTER PURCHASE

So, you’ve made some sales and you’ve got some customers (hooray!), but you begin to notice that some of these people have become worryingly inactive after purchase. How do you get your new customers to use the products they’ve just purchased?

Firstly, it never hurts to understand who your customers are. Tracking customer usage patterns will help create customer profiles and identify the right buttons to push when they need some motivation. For example, you can send them emails about the benefits of using your products, but if you are aware of their specific pain points, you can provide them with more specific details for solving their problems, thus propelling them into action.

It’s also a good idea to map your ideal customer’s journey after purchase. That way you have a solid template to compare to the path taken by the majority of your customers. If the ideal journey and the reality of the journey taken by customers do not match up, you’ll be able to identify adjustments that need to me made. You can also take a magnifying glass to features of your product that customers do not use so that in the end you’re left with a lean, mean, converting machine that inspires action.

RE-ENGAGEMENT – REACTIVATION CAMPAIGNS AND TECHNIQUES

Reactivation or re-engagement is the process where businesses reach out to inactive customers or potential customers. The goal of reactivation is to encourage them to become active users.

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Below are a few ways to re-engage with inactive customers and drive them to start using your products and solutions:

  • Use email activation campaigns to re-engage with inactive customers.
  • Include product tours as a part of your onboarding experience.
  • Display ads driving them to visit your website/products pages.
  • Social media sponsored posts that promote customer success stories.
  • Identify the main pain points in using your product and fix those.
  • Set up a re-engagement strategy for users who drop off.
  • Entice users with the progress they are making.

A/B TESTING AND MULTIVARIATE TESTING

A/B testing is the process of examining different variables within your website for optimal conversion. Businesses today prefer testing various options of look, feel and design when it comes to their landing pages, ads, website pages, emails, email sign up forms, or in-app conversion forms. Nearly any aspect of your website can and should be A/B tested. Most businesses opt for A/B testing where they test two design options/formatting/URLs etc they may have created.

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Sometimes businesses also go for multivariate testing that allows you to compare a higher number of variables and the interactions between them. A/B testing and multivariate testing boost conversion rates by helping businesses identify which options perform better.

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Tools like Unbounce, KISSmetrics, Optimizely, and Maxymizer will help you run A/B tests to ultimately help you improve your online assets and drive sales.

 

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TAGGING, TRACKING ANALYTICS & REPORTING

In order to identify conversions on your website, it is essential to add relevant tags on your website and mobile apps. A tag is a piece of code you can place in your website’s back end that gathers data about the behavior of visitors. Analyzing and reporting visitors’ activity helps businesses optimize their conversion rates by providing necessary insights into which stage of the buying journey a potential customer is in, how to drive them towards a sale, and how to activate them.

Tools like Google tag manager make using tags easy, especially if you have a lot that you need to manage. However, if you only have one or two tags, it’s simple enough to manually insert them into your website’s source code. If you don’t know where to start, try using Google Analytics and Google Ads conversion tracking, as these are two of the most important tags on the web. You can also use Conversion tracking, which is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer interacts with your ads.

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These tools promote conversion rate optimization, which is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired goal on a website. Using tags and tracking, businesses analyze the behavior of visitors and focus on elements that motivate customer engagement so as to optimize conversions.

 

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Conversions are one of the most important metrics that help businesses track their potential consumers as they move from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. Various techniques like A/B testing, multivariate testing and re-engagement campaigns are sure to improve your conversion rates.

In the next post of this series, ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part IV: Growth Program Operations – Building a Growth Engine’, we will talk about what Growth Program Operations are, their framework (internal as well as external), A/B testing schedules, and how to build a strong growth engine for your business.

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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part II: What is a FUNNEL? – The Right Customer, the Right Message, in the Right Channel

By MarketingNo Comments

In last week’s post ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp PART I What is ACQUISITION – Getting the RIGHT Early Customers for Free’, we covered the various growth hacking techniques that work well and ones to avoid.

We are now in the second week of the ‘Perfect Funnel’ challenge series. This week we will discuss Funnels and how to acquire the right customers by sharing the right messages in the right channels.

A Funnel illustrates the ideal journey your prospective customers go through on their way of becoming your customers.

Businesses may market their products and solutions to several thousand or several hundred thousands of people, but only a small percentage share their contact details to become leads. Out of these leads, only a fraction will become customers. Out of these customers, a further smaller fraction will become loyal customers for your brand.

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CUSTOMER LIFECYCLE – AIDA MODEL

The various stages a potential buyer goes through in a company’s marketing funnel is commonly referred to as customer lifecycle. The age-old marketing funnel model, more commonly referred to as the AIDA model, was developed by an American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898.

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As a business, you have to funnel down your prospects in the AIDA order to get amazing new customers. Moving prospective clients through the funnel to convert them to loyal customers is the main goal for marketers.

 

PERSONA DESIGN – KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER AND USE THE LANGUAGE

Before building the funnel for your business, a critical first step in the lead acquisition process is understanding your customers and potential customers and creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized versions of your ideal customers.

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In order to define buyer personas for your business, you need to understand your existing customers, their demographics, behavior, interests, and location.

Based on your understanding and analysis, group and define your ideal consumers’ characteristics and expected behavior. Create buyer personas for your business so you can design your marketing strategy accordingly. The success of your communication strategy with your target audience will largely depend on your full understanding of the buyer personas of your business.

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FUNNEL MAPPING – CREATE AND CONTROL THE USER JOURNEY

Create or design the sales funnel for your business based on the user journey and control the way users pass from one stage to another.

Businesses should carefully map the user lifecycle with the sales funnel. Marketing messages have to be developed for various stages in the funnel such that potential buyers are able to move at ease, from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and become customers.

You may assume that the funnel has a linear path based on the AIDA model. However, in reality, a funnel is not that simple. When consumers come across your products, they may first look at alternative products by your competitors. It may then take weeks or months for them to come back to your funnel and convert.

Here are 10 funnel mapping tools you should consider using for your business.

CONTENT MARKETING – CREATE CONTENT THAT IS HIGHLY VALUABLE FOR YOUR BUYER PERSONAS

Over the past decade, the Internet has transformed the way consumers research products and services. Consumers would prefer doing a comprehensive online research about the various ways in which their business problem can be solved.

Consumers these days trust brands only when the brand is able to provide them with valuable content. Brands must focus on creating high-quality content that is extremely valuable for their leads as they pass through various stages of the buying journey.

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LEAD MAGNETS AND TRIP WIRES

High-quality content frequently acts as great lead magnets. Businesses could give basic relevant content for free and then gate the high-value content. Businesses can drive their target audience to fill in lead generation forms by offering lead magnets like eBooks and whitepapers.

Trip wires are a way of converting a lead to a customer by offering them a low-cost alternative. Once they are in the sales funnel, you could then upsell to them to improve the CLV.

RETARGETING – MAP AD CREATIVES AND MESSAGING TO EACH STAGE IN THE USER JOURNEY

Users may visit your website, follow you on social media and they may drop off at some point of the buying journey before completing the purchase. Create retargeting campaigns targeting such potential customers who are in various stages of the buying journey.

Based on the content your target audience consumes, you can identify which stage they are in. You could then create retargeting journeys motivating these users to consume similar content or driving them to take some action, move towards the bottom of the funnel and convert them to leads/customers.

DRIP EMAIL NURTURING CAMPAIGNS

Launch drip email nurturing campaigns based on the activity and online behavior of your leads and potential customers. Based on the stage of the buying cycle and sales funnel, your audience is in, create relevant marketing mailers that would drive conversion.

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Drip campaigns help businesses in acquiring customers through lead nurturing techniques. You should set up email campaigns for various stages starting from indoctrination or introducing your brand to deliver value and build trust. The objective of drip email nurturing campaigns is to get your leads to know, like, and trust your brand.

 

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MARKETING AUTOMATION TO STREAMLINE YOUR MARKETING NEEDS

Use technology for messaging and ensure that human interaction is required only for high priority items. Automate your social media posting by scheduling the posts to go out based on high activity time.

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Introduce techniques like ‘Lead Grading’, where your business can classify leads based on their location, demographics, industry, job title etc and ‘Lead Scoring’, where leads are classified based on the lead’s activity and online behavior. Here are 23 awesome marketing automation tools that your business should evaluate to simplify and streamline your marketing functions.

PROGRESSIVE PROFILING – GATHER MORE INFORMATION AS USERS CONSUME MORE CONTENT

Getting to know more about your leads is crucial for the success of your marketing campaigns. However, to know more, you need to collect more information from them through lead forms. This is where progressive profiling comes into picture. You can have dynamic lead forms that collect tiny bits of information as and when users download different content.

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When a lead returns to consume more content, the automation detects what information we already have and generates dynamic web forms asking for the next level of details. As they move from one stage to the next stage in the buying journey different details are collected.

This comprehensive user profile collated by the automation tools will aid in creating highly targeted marketing messages for driving users towards conversion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

By designing a sales funnel tailored according to your business and industry, businesses can prioritize marketing campaigns and create relevant high-quality content for your buyer personas.

Stay tuned to the growth hacking series! Next week, we will learn about the importance of CONVERSION and how to get the most from every encounter with your target audience. Don’t forget to sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE.

 

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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp PART I: What is ACQUISITION? – Getting the RIGHT Early Customers for Free

By MarketingNo Comments

Welcome to our four-part blog series on Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp. Over the next few articles, you will get some great tips for implementing a high-performance growth hacking strategy for your business.

PART I: WHAT IS ACQUISITION? – GETTING THE “RIGHT” EARLY CUSTOMERS FOR FREE

In the first article of this blog series, we will be discussing what growth hacking techniques work well, and which ones should be avoided.

Let’s briefly understand the various acquisition goals. The primary goals of acquisition are typically:

  • Driving traffic to your website.
  • Making the most of your traffic by engaging with your audience effectively once they visit your website.
  • Converting traffic to leads and acquiring new customers.

Now you understand what the goals of acquisition are, we’ll now discuss various growth hacking techniques that will help to acquire new customers by driving traffic to your website.

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GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TESTING YOUR PRODUCT

Close friends and family always remain a great audience when you want early and genuine feedback about your product. They also won’t mind receiving product-related information from you.

So once you’ve built your Minimum Viable Product, ask your friends and family to test your product. This way you can get the first set of honest reviews. This will help you further improve your viable product and market it effectively to your future customers.

Since they are trying your product with an intention to help you in your business, their heart is in this task. However, you need to direct them to be “honest” and not “nice” with their opinions. You may need to pry them for more info and details in why they liked or disliked your product. These people are not professional testers so they will need guidance on how detailed and specific the feedback will need to be so it’s useful for you.

You should also motivate this close circle of people to visit your website and social media channels so that they give you valuable feedback from a “fresh eyes” perspective.

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BETA PROGRAM – COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR PRE-LAUNCH

Small businesses and start-ups often underestimate the potential hype they can create by marketing their beta products. It is essential for businesses to build a pre-launch email list. Start collecting emails specifically for beta releases through lead generation forms in guest blogs, Facebook and Twitter lead ads, etc.

You could also collect subscribers for your beta releases through your regular email campaigns by including an opt-in for beta releases. Focus on quality over quantity while building the list because the aim here is to attract early adopters for your products.

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More companies are launching their beta products to early adopters. Hence, beta testing is not limited to the professional testing teams anymore. Instead, it has become community driven. And marketing your beta testing should go hand in hand with the actual product beta testing.

 

PARTNERS – CROSS PROMOTIONS AND JOINT MARKETING EFFORTS

Partnering with other companies in your space that may offer complementary products or services (not your direct competitors) is a great opportunity to attract a new audience. Or you could look for channel partners like wholesalers or distributors.

Through such partnerships, you could cross-promote each other on blogs, social media, etc to drive more website visitors. You could also run promotions on a partner website or cross-promote on each other’s email newsletters driving website visitors whom you can nurture to become leads. Co-marketing and creating ebooks or webinars with your partner can reduce the content creation efforts and at the same time reach a wider audience of both the parties.

 

DRIVING TRAFFIC THROUGH REFERENCE SITES

Reference sites like Quora and Reddit are a great start for small businesses that want to grow their website presence. Even founders of Airbnb, Dropbox, and Groupon used to spend a lot of their time creating content and answering questions on Quora and Reddit. This helped them drive a lot of website visitors.

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Small businesses should invest their time and efforts on these platforms. Start by identifying relevant topics in Quora and industry subreddits in Reddit. Once you have narrowed down the list on where you could answer questions related to your industry, pick questions where you could talk about your products and solutions and start referencing your website.

If you feel the topic doesn’t warrant explicit mention of your products and solutions, you could give subtle hints motivating reads to take the desired action if they want more information.

 

HOSTING VIDEOS

Create “how to” videos, problem-solving videos, etc for your brand and share them on video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. You could also create thought leadership videos on industry-related topics to educate your target audience.

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Comparison videos would drive top of the funnel customers to your website while product demo videos would drive bottom of the funnel customers to your website. Have a balance and create content for various stages to drive them to your website. Clear call to actions at various durations of the video is essential to get desirable results.

 

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NEW PRODUCT REVIEW SITES

New product review sites like Product Hunt, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe are a great way to get more eyeballs on your newly launched products. These sites talk about the best new products in the market by reviewing them. Since there are high probabilities for early adopters to visit these sites frequently, it is a brilliant platform to engage with them and drive them to your website.

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DRIVING NEW CUSTOMERS THROUGH REFERRAL PROGRAMS

Design and launch a referral program for your business such that it is mutually beneficial. DropBox launched a referral program where users can earn storage space of 500 MB by inviting new users.

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This simple referral program became a viral loop and DropBox grew by 3900%. So a referral program where you could offer some concessions or exclusive benefits for your participants could prove to be a great strategy to acquire new customers for your business.

 

LINKEDIN – CONNECT WITH PROSPECTS

LinkedIn is a goldmine for list building prospective customers. Small businesses can send automated connection requests to their target audience using tools like LinkedAutomate and LinkMe Tool. You could then export your LinkedIn connections and then communicate with them by sending email marketing messages.

If you want to know more about using LinkedIn for growth hacking, please read our article LinkedIn Growth Hacking for Small Businesses, Start-Ups Solopreneurs and Bloggers, where you can understand the various steps involved in identifying and reaching potential customers via LinkedIn

 

USE INFLUENCER MARKETING TO DRIVE WEBSITE VISITORS

Influencer marketing continues to remain one of the popular ways of driving website traffic. People prefer listening to other people instead of brands or businesses. This is where influencers play a key role because they are industry experts or leading professionals who have a wide audience base that you could target. Identify the list of influencers who would be more apt considering the industry your business is in.

Narrow down the list based on analysis of their posts, reach, budget, etc and finalize the influencers you want to promote your brand. Then start reaching out and build long-term relationships with them. It can take time for them to eventually partner with you so be patient.

 

CRAIGSLIST IS A GREAT PLACE TO START

CraigsList gets over 10 million unique visitors per day and there is no question that Craigslist is one of the most powerful marketplace websites in the world. Businesses like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy got their first 1000 customers by using this platform. Despite its simplicity, marketing on CraigsList would need some basic planning and strategy. As a small business, decide on the locations you’d want to market your products and then also understand which of the 300 communities should you be on.

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Ads on CraigsList are either free or a very low cost (starting at $5). So start building ads for CraigsList and also get involved by interacting with your community on CraigsList. Respond to posts by others and participate in conversations across discussion forums where you could discuss with potential customers as well as other sellers and establish a presence for your business within the Craigslist community.

 

PAID ADVERTISING – SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING

Spruce up your lead generation efforts by launching paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and search engine marketing platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Even though organic means can help you in driving traffic to a certain extent, if you want to boost your traffic in a shorter span, paid advertising will help.

Test your ads using A/B testing, now available with the platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook. Testing will help you understand which of your ad formats or what kind of messaging does well for your target audience so that you could optimize future campaigns based on the insights derived from testing and analyzing the results.

CONCLUSION

There are a variety of various acquisition techniques for your business in this article. One technique will not solve all your business growth issues. Experiment with some/all of the above-mentioned solutions to see what works for you. Planning carefully and strategizing is what would help you achieve the desired results through these techniques.

Stay tuned, next week we cover the best practices about creating FUNNELS. Don’t forget to sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE.

 

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