How local businesses can improve ROI on ad spend

There’s really a variety of reasons why it is difficult for local business marketing to make a profit on social platforms. The biggest thing that I’ve seen over the last eight years in my work with local businesses is, “number one they have a more limited budget. Even the larger local companies tend to just spend a little less than a similar-sized”.

Online business in terms of their Facebook and Instagram ads, you need to make sure that every single dollar being put into your marketing is producing a Return On Investment. This gives people the confidence to spend more and increase the budget typically. There’s also a little bit less in terms of support staff.

You really have to work extra hard to make yourself stand out.

Show them why they should come to you or buy from you especially when they may be able to do it a little bit easier with an online company. There is also definitely a lack of training in the online marketing space that’s really specific to local businesses. That’s obviously what I hope to talk to you about today.

One of the biggest problems that I see is the disconnect between sales that are actually happening in the business and the online marketing statistics. Most people could not tell you, “Hey let’s take a look at our ads manager account.” Okay, how did that translate into real sales?

Most likely they would have no idea and that’s what we really want to overcome. Hopefully, all of you guys will have a much clearer understanding of how you can close the loop on your advertising.

What Determines Return On Investment?

The first thing is to have a plan that actually maximizes your potential for profits. Thus, having an offer that is focused on growing the revenue, not just putting something out that you think looks cool.

We also want to make sure that you have a really easy way to produce content and creativity.

Return On Investment is not just based on the dollars you’re putting into your ad. Spend it based on your time or the time of those that work for you.

Time is money!

Somebody’s putting their effort into these things. If they’re taking way too long, if there’s an easier and faster way to do something; you’re not going to see as strong of a return as you could if you were able to do that same thing a little bit faster and a little bit better.

Finally, we want to get more conversions from our paid ad leads.

Again this is a really big problem marketers are often talking about; the low-cost per leads that they’re getting business owners. Maybe they’re talking about that but sometimes they don’t even know what the cost per lead would be for them. However, that is not what matters.

The only thing that matters is, sales are revenue, is the return on investment.

So if you don’t know how much money was produced from those groups of low-cost leads, you’re missing out on a lot of important data. You could have invested a lot of money into something that produced no real tangible results at all sometimes. This is going to give you the ability to say, “Okay we’ve got a lot of leads but none of them are converting. What’s going wrong here and how can I fix this?”

Different Ways That Can Maximize The Return On Investment:

You need to know your numbers!

This is often overlooked by really everyone that I speak to, but this is going to be the basis of your entire online marketing strategy. You do need that profit.

Profit-Driven Offer.

You also want to have a really effective ad strategy that works, that’s why we’re here to talk about Facebook and Instagram ads.

You want to have a really effective and easy to create content, creative, and conversion as well as a solid tracking method. Hence, knowing your numbers, things like:

    Must have a set budget
    Should have a cost per lead goal,
    Have a cost per acquisition
    imperative goal

All of these things are going to be crucial to establishing how much you can actually pay for a lead.

If your cost per acquisition is going to allow your business to grow then make sure that you’re focusing on the right number. Facebook likes do not pay the bills. There is a place for engagement and engagement style ads but keep these things in mind:

    Stop looking at reach
    Avoid looking at impressions
    Don’t focus on the likes
    Start looking at the numbers that will actually help you grow your business.

These are the things that you really want to focus on. Too many people have no idea what they’re even looking at or what they’re looking for. They don’t even know if their ads are working or if they’re failing and that’s not a good place to be regardless!

If you are the business owner or the marketer, I see this problem in both spaces. There is a set of formulas that you guys are going to want to use to calculate the numbers for your business or for the business of your clients. These are all very important in terms of understanding.

What Strategy Do you Specifically Need to Reach Your Financial Goals?

Hopefully, everybody’s got a snapshot. This is going to be a real-life example of those formulas. If you want to see how that breaks down, definitely take a photo of them. This is the first thing that I would do anytime.

When I am working with our agency clients in my training program, I go through all of these numbers with the students because if you know what it takes to actually acquire a customer, what their lifetime value is going to be for you, you will have a very clear set of guidelines.

This is when my ads stop being profitable for me. If you don’t have this you’re essentially guessing. Maybe you’re asking friends “Hey, do you know what is a good cost per lead in this industry?” Just because they think it’s good doesn’t actually mean it’s good!

Again, it doesn’t actually mean that any of your ads are converting. So, stop pulling numbers out of thin air and really get specific in terms of what a business can afford to pay.

What you should be paying, and if you get X amount of leads for X amount of dollars.

This is the revenue that should be produced based on lifetime value and conversion rates. So, spending very smartly is really important in achieving that maximum ROI.

    Have a dedicated marketing budget that can be anywhere between 5% and 12% of your overall revenue. It really depends on how aggressive you want to be.

    You also want to make sure that you’re dividing your budget between the three different traffic temperatures and the different types of ads.

    You also want to make sure you actually put enough money towards your advertising to see real results.

Too many people want to get into this space. They’re just underspending, and when you do this, you prevent real testing from being done, which is what is really going to allow you to find those winners much sooner. They’re also shutting things off way too quickly because again, they don’t understand the numbers.

    Give things enough money
    Give things enough time

… and when you have the foundation of your financial numbers behind you you’re going to know a lot more of what you should be doing. You will know with 100% certainty when it’s time to throw in the towel on a certain campaign.

Have questions? Drop them below. Want to talk about working together? Visit to schedule a time to talk!

2018 Digital Marketing Trends: What You NEED To Know

digital marketing

We’re more than halfway through 2017 and marketers already are looking ahead to 2018 to determine the New Year’s direction for their digital marketing campaigns. Many are wondering if they should stay the course they charted in 2017 or make changes. Here are six developing digital marketing trends to consider, both for the rest of the year and beyond.

Personalized Content: Think Unique Customer Experiences

More than half of B2B buyers rely on content to research their buying decisions. What’s more, 47 percent want to review three to five pieces of content before they engage with sales reps.

Clearly, content is the beating heart of every marketing campaign. But as digital marketing matures, so does the nature of content. One of the increasingly important factors in creating content that connects with consumers is personalization—content specifically tailored to both customers’ needs and where they are in the buying process.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 94 percent of digital professionals believe personalization is “critical to current and future success,” according to Monetate
  • Personalized content performs 42 percent better than non-personalized content, according to HubSpot
  • Marketers who deliver personalized web experiences are getting double-digit returns in marketing performance and response, according to Forbes’ Publish or Perish analysis
  • 94 percent of senior-level executives believe delivering personalization is critical or important for reaching customers, according to PWC’s Digital Services group

Tips to Leverage Personalized Content

  1.    Start by targeting the “low-hanging fruit” in your client data: names and emails—most visitors will share these with you in exchange for valuable content, such as an eBook.
  2.     Once you have this basic data, start lead nurturing campaigns offering prospects access to more great content in exchange for more data.
  3.     Add value to visitors’ personalized experiences by asking: Will this help prospects and customers solve their problems and better understand our solution?

SEO and Content Conversion: Help Them Work Together

Few companies discuss marketing without including a conversation about SEO. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, the two functions have reached a point of conversion, according to a study by BrightEdge. In the survey, 97 percent of digital marketers believe that SEO and content have become more integrated or are converging into a single function. The marriage of content marketing and SEO impacts marketers’ three most important content performance metrics: conversions, engagement and traffic.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 52 percent of marketers recognize that fluency in SEO is critical to long-term content marketing success, according to BrightEdge
  • Organic search drives 51 percent of content consumption

Tips to Leverage the SEO and Content Conversion

  1.     Use SEO data to discover how prospects consume and engage with your content. Identify what generates interest and results in prospects who take action.
  2.     Conduct ongoing customer analysis, because prospects’ interests can change quickly.
  3.     Consider how customers engage with different types of content across channels and devices and at different stages of the journey.
  4.     Always be measuring. Set realistic and concrete goals for your content at every stage—from awareness to conversions.

Social Media Marketing: Sharpen Your Focus

In the coming years, B2B marketing leaders expect to spend most of their time on social media. As a result, social media budgets will expand, according to a TEKsystems 2017 study. Central to the success of this expansion is understanding consumers’ point-of-view: Namely, they want consistent brand messaging and intuitive interactions whenever they encounter a brand or are considering making purchases.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • Facebook continues to dominate social media use, according to Top Rank Blog
  • Social marketing is shifting toward emotionally engaging content and storytelling because strong emotions increase content’s “spreadability,” according to Oregon Web Solutions
  • By the end of 2017, we’ll likely see most of the major platforms enabling users to create and share video content, create and share live video content and discover news and what’s going on around them (based on location), according  to Buffer App

Tips to Leverage Social Media Marketing

  1.     Ask: How do current customers feel about their experience interacting with our brand on social media?
  2.     Determine which networks are most important for your business and spend the most time creating fully fleshed out social presences there.
  3.     Consider dropping or reducing your time on social platforms that aren’t delivering lead generation and brand awareness.

Video Marketing: More is Better

Remember the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words? Consider the new adage about video: Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words. Clearly, video is a critical direction in the future of digital marketing. Cisco Systems’ recent Visual Networking Index report found that video will continue to deepen its dominance on internet traffic with volumes increasing fourfold between 2015 and 2020. By 2019, video will represent over 80 percent of all internet traffic. Viewed another way, the internet will support 3 trillion internet video minutes per month by 2020, which equates to 5 million years of video per month, or about 1 million video minutes every second.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 63 percent of businesses are using videos as marketing tools, according to Wyzowl
  • 65 percent of business decision-makers visit a marketer’s website after viewing a branded video, according to comScore
  • The average video retains 37 percent of viewers all the way to the end, according to Vidyard
  • 92 percent of people who consume mobile videos share them with other people
  • Video is shared 1,200 percent more than both links and text combined, according to Simply Measured

Tips to Leverage Video Marketing

  1.     Assess how much video content you currently use and the ROI. If you haven’t done enough, expand production.
  2.     To make your videos as memorable as possible, ensure that you’re keeping them in line with your brand strategy.
  3.     Boost your SEO by adding video to your landing pages, website and content offers.
  4.     Experiment with different lengths and subject matter for your videos.

Mobile Marketing: Time to Get “Mobile Friendly”

It’s full steam ahead on mobile marketing in 2017—and beyond. For one thing, Google’s announced mobile-first algorithm is expected to launch in early 2018. With this change, Google will primarily index mobile content and use it to decide how to rank its results, regardless of whether you’re on desktop or mobile. There no longer will be any type of “mobile-friendly” adjustment done just for mobile users.

Mobile marketing

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 69 percent of digital media time is spent on mobile, according to comScore’s 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report
  • Worldwide, $143 billion will be spent on mobile ads in 2017 (twice that of $71 billion in 2015), according to Moinstall
  • Location-targeted mobile ad spend will grow from $12.4 billion in 2016 to $32.4 billion in 2021, according to BIA/Kelsey

Tips to Leverage Mobile Marketing (From Google)

  1.     If you have a responsive or dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you should not have to change anything for Google’s upcoming mobile-first algorithm.
  2.     If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site, including making sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  3.     If you’re a site owner who has only verified your desktop site in Search Console, add and verify your mobile version.

Digital Advertising: Dominating the Future

digital marketing

If you’re not yet engaged in digital advertising, now is the time. According to a new report from Facebook and IHS Technology, by 2020, media buyers will spend $84.5 billion on mobile advertising, with mobile accounting for 75.9 percent of all digital ad spend globally.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • Facebook’s advertising revenue in Q2 2017 reached $9.16 billion, up 47 percent year-over-year
  • Twitter’s ad revenue fell in early 2017 by 8 percent to $548 million as advertisers pulled back from the social media platform
  • LinkedIn earned nearly $1 billion ($975 million) in sponsored ad revenue in the first quarter of 2017

Tips to Leverage Digital Marketing

  1.     Experiment with ads on different social media platforms to see which perform better for your brand.
  2.     Leverage advanced ad-targeting tools, such as location-based advertising, which put your ads in front of users at the moment they’re in your area of interest.
  3.     Privacy is a real concern for all customers, so be sure to enable opt-in and opt-out in your advertising.

The future developments in digital marketing are approaching at blinding speed. This is no time to rely only on what’s worked in the past. Now is the time to start planning for—and even implementing—the leading trends that will impact digital marketing success in 2018 and beyond.

Social Media Tips Part 2: Executing with Excellence

social media tips for business

Executing With Excellence

After my last article on social media tips for beginners, I thought we could step a bit deeper into the depths of the social media ocean and come up with a few pearls of wisdom. Some of these tips can be executed right away, but others will take time and you’ll need to build upon your skills in order to reap the full benefits. You’ve already gotten your feet wet, so now it’s time to dive right in with 10 more tips to take your social media game to the next level!

1. Remember the Reason

Relationships are the name of the game in social media, so no matter how badly you want to master this new craft for your business, don’t forget to approach it with a spirit of helpfulness and friendliness. The point of social media is to put a human voice and face to your brand. Don’t let the stuffiness of day to day buying and selling overwhelm your presence.

social media tips for business

2. Collect Data

This is one of the most valuable functions of social media. The data you can gather on your demographic and target audience is priceless. In addition to the standard age and gender questions, you can find out what makes your customers tick. You can find out what their pain points are, what their questions are, what they relate and react to. Don’t let this data go by the wayside. Record it and return to it often.

3. Act On Your Data

When you find a new nugget of wisdom about your audience, don’t just write it in your notebook. Act on it. Adjust your efforts to fill this need, answer this question, or offer the type of information that their craving. This will help you produce quality over quantity in terms of content.

4. Focus on campaigns that run across all social media channels

As we discussed in the last article, you shouldn’t try to build a strong presence on all channels. Stick to 3 or 4 to start off with. Create a campaign that can be translated onto all your targeted platforms. But beware, you can’t typically take the same photo and content and successfully post it on all channels. Different word limits, ideal photo sizes and key hashtags will differ on these channels, so adjust accordingly. Keeping the message the same on all channels will promote easy recognition of your brand and it’s values.

5. Research Repeatedly

We covered researching before planning in the last article, but research should be a regular part of your social media journey. Continue to research your competitors and see what is and what is not working for them. Research the best hashtags to use. You can find this on sites like or Using appropriate hashtags can spread your content much farther than your immediate followers.

6. Testing

Test different image shapes, sizes, fonts, colors and even emojis to maximize your reach or gain quick recognition with your followers. Sometimes the small things make you stand out and can break through the clutter in a newsfeed or timeline. In our “Before and After” and “This or That” posts, we found that if we made our image twice the height of a standard Facebook image, our reach would triple or even quadruple! This happens because more than half of all Facebook users are on mobile. When you view this post on mobile, it entices you to click to see the “after” or the “that” image that you can’t see due to the size. The key is to put the “AFTER” or “THAT” text in the middle of the photo, so that people will understand that there is something to see below. When people are constantly clicking on your image, they’re telling Facebook that they value your content, and Facebook recognizes it as more important, making the reach skyrocket. In addition, those who click your post are served more of your content in the future because Facebook knows that they feel it is relevant. Without testing, trial and error, and closely monitoring the way that our fans are interacting with our content, we would have missed this awesome realization!

social media tips example
What they see in the mobile feed


social media tips full


7. Use calls to action!

As in any advertising medium, use calls to action and a sense of urgency to drive your potential customers into the buying funnel. While social media is not all about buying and selling, but when your posts directly relate to your products or services, there is no harm in adding a simple call to action. It can be as easy as “Click to shop more of these _____” or “Sign up today for more ways to save!”. Getting them to convert to your website or email list is the name of the game. Guide them in the right direction with a little encouragement!

8. Use contents to grow reach, engagement and the “fun factor”

Simple giveaways can be extremely powerful. Many contests will tell fans to like, comment and share to have a chance to win. These posts can get hundreds of thousands of interactions, with most of the giveaway prizes worth only a few hundred dollars. That kind of engagement is worth every penny.

social media contests

9. Make it trackable

Make sure that if you’re promoting contests, giveaways, discounts or specials on your social media accounts, that you have promo codes associated with them for your sales staff. This will allow you to see how many people are claiming this discount in store. This allows you to see which channels are working well for your target audience, or what categories are especially of interest.

10. Cross Promote Social Media Channels With On And Offline Channels!

I can’t stress this one enough. If you are going to take the time to use social media, make sure you get the biggest reach possible. This can be done by sending email blasts about your social activity, putting social share and follow buttons on all of your blogs, images, products, and pages on your website, putting social icons in your email signature (all staff should have this with an invitation for the recipient to follow for “Daily Design Inspiration” or whatever your company provides via social media.) You can also tie this to your other advertising channels, such as TV commercials, radio ads, or in store signage. This makes it easier for customers to follow you no matter where they are when they see your message or interact with your business.

Instagram poster at brick and mortar store

Good luck in your social media journey! If you have patience, persistence and dedication to follow the tips that I’ve laid out, I’m confident that your social presence will continue to rise daily. Don’t lose faith if things don’t take off over night. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t burn yourself out in the beginning. Have a plan and pace yourself so that you will be sure to endure in your efforts for years to come. Pleasant posting!


Social Media Tips For Business: Beginners Basics

social tips media

The world of marketing has shifted over the last decade, as I know all of you are aware. What you were doing 10-15 years ago is likely not as effective as it once was.

Digital is taking over the world, with social media the reigning king. While some may think that social media is just for teenagers, others may be well aware that it is an important facet of their marketing plan.

Whatever side of the fence you are on, you need to understand that in today’s marketplace, those who do not embrace this change will soon be left behind.

However, it can be scary and somewhat intimidating when trying to attack this new medium that you may have little experience with. I’m going to give you some social media tips that will help get you moving in the right direction!

social tips media

Social Media Tips: #1

You can’t do it all.

As far as social media tips go, this is a big one. Choose a few platforms to do really well instead of being mediocre at all of them. One of the main reasons that social media can seem so intimidating is the fact that there are dozens of social media platforms, each with a different niche.

You can never be great at all of them. You need to think hard on this before you jump on the social media marketing bandwagon, because this can be the choice that brings success or failure to your efforts.

Some of the main platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine, Tumblr (or any other blogging platform), Periscope, Google+, Houzz, Buffer, Delicious, Digg, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbledUpon, and many many more. In deciding the platforms that you’ll start with, ask yourself these 3 things:

  1. How much time or resources can I dedicate to this? If you are ready to fully commit, you can choose more platforms to tackle than if you can only dip your toes in the water. It is better to dominate one platform than to not make an impression on many.
  2. Who is your demographic and which social media platforms are they spending more time on? This is another question of key importance. If your demographic is between the ages of 45-55, you won’t have much success with Snapchat, or likely Vine. These platforms skew a much younger generation. Facebook has an older demographic, while Twitter is popular with a middle aged crowd. Do your research before getting started! You’ll be wasting time and resources if you don’t.
  3. Ask yourself what your key demographic would be looking for on these platforms. This greatly depends on your business. If you are in the Kitchen & Bath category, you know that there is a lot of information that goes into making the decision to remodel. If your audience would be craving information & clarity, you need to know. If they’re looking for design inspiration, you need to know, if they’re looking to know more about your specific business, you really need to know! Don’t give them what you THINK they want, give them what they want.

Social Media Tips: #2

Make a plan.

After you’ve done your initial research on the platform(s) that you should be focusing on, you need to make a plan. If you’ve decided that your audience wants information about product materials & design inspiration, you may have chosen to start a blog (on your website or Tumblr), to share this information on Facebook (The platform your demographic is using) and to share design inspiration on Pinterest (where your demographic goes to get ideas on style and trends).

Here are some social media tips on how to make your plan.

  • When to post. You now need to do research on the best times of day for the different platforms that you’ve chosen. This can have a big impact on your engagement, which is the point of your posts in the first place. Every industry is different, and those that like or follow your page will have their own habits of checking social media. There are many tools online that can help you with this. Sprout Social is a dashboard that will give you key information on your demographic’s habits. You can use IconoSquarefor Instagram stats or TweetDeck for Twitter. If you spend some time digging, you can find anything you’re looking for.

social media tips

  • How often will you post? You want to make sure that you post consistently, but not TOO frequently. Those who will follow your social media accounts want to see action, or they will lose interest. There are different “rules” for each platform that you can find if you do your research.
  • Research competitors & businesses in similar industries. This will give you ideas on the type of content that may work for your audience. If you see certain types of posts with lots of engagement, take it as a sign that this audience is interested in what they’re being given. Adjust these concepts to make them your own. This is a “Hypothesize, Test, Repeat” kind of thing. You may not hit a homerun on your first try, but analyze what is working vs. what is not, and adjust accordingly. Doing your research up front on posts that are working for others will save you a lot of time in the end. Take a look at the hashtags that are being used by your audience and tie them into your posts! Make sure you link all posts back to your website, when at all possible. The point is not just to engage on social media, but to pull them into the buying funnel.

social media tips

  • Put it in writing (or typing). Now that you know where you’re posting, when you’re posting and what you’re posting, you need to set it in stone. Nothing great is ever accomplished without a plan. There are many templates online of content calendars for social media that you can edit in Excel or Google Sheets. They will have columns for all the key information that you’ll need to effectively plan you posts. You can opt for a social media dashboard like HootSuite, which will allow you to plan & schedule all of your posts (for most platforms) in advance. This will definitely save time. I recommend you take 1-2 hours each week getting all of your posts scheduled for peak posting time.


social media tips


Social Media Tips: #3:

Engage to get engagement.

This is probably one of the best social media tips. I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying “To have friends, you need to be a friend.” This concepts hold true in the world of social media. It is rare to get without giving in some way. Social media can be seen as a “Cocktail Party”.

When you think of it this way, it helps you understand the concept more clearly. When you’re at a cocktail party, you don’t simply go up to everyone you see and tell them why they need to buy from your company. That would be very inappropriate and in-your-face. The key is to network. You meet someone, have a great conversation with them, and let them know what you do. You become interested in what they do and how you can help them. When that person is in the market for your services, they may reach out to you, as they remember the positive interaction that you shared.


social media tips


They may even tell their friends about you! Keep this in mind as you embark on your social media journey. You need to genuinely be interested in the business or lives of others to get people interested in you. Seek out companies like yours or individuals in your demographic to follow or connect. Engage with their content and share your thoughts! This is the “introduction” at the cocktail party. Remember that this is a long term plan to increase awareness and sales in your business, and you will need to work at it in order for it to work for you.

Once your posts are scheduled for the week or the month, log on various times during the week to engage, or answer questions or comments directed at you. This is key in becoming successful in social media. I hope these social media tips helped!

In our next article, we’ll dive a little bit deeper into social media marketing success. There is a lot to learn, but if you take it one step at a time, you will find that it not only gives you a great return on investment, but it will give you much deeper insight into what your customers are looking for. Until next time, pleasant posting!