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Laura B. Poindexter is a renowned thought leader, guiding clients through the changing electronic marketing and social media environment. Her public seminars have helped thousands of business owners learn and employ affordable marketing solutions. Since 2000, her company, Queenb Creative (formerly laura b creative), has managed clients’ online presence, maximized their social media and electronic marketing to positively impact their bottom line and enhance audience engagement.

14 May 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Episode 101: Biggest Mistakes in Facebook Ads

Biggest Mistakes in Facebook Ads

Here is an edited transcript of the episode above. Please forgive the run-on sentences.

My biggest tip for people who are not getting results in Facebook advertising

I was asked yesterday in a Facebook group with other marketing professionals, what is my number one tip for people who are using Facebook advertising and getting spotty results. So what I thought I would do in this segment is give you my answer and then in some following segments that I’ll post today, I’ll give you some of the other answers.

I think the most important thing to think about is the customer journey. Most people use Facebook advertising for the top of the funnel without much targeting. I like to use it in the middle of the funnel. Depending on the business, I retarget based on pages visited, whether it’s on the website or landing pages or where they are inside an automation series, an autoresponder series. So the ad that I’m serving is very relevant to the conversation that the business is having with the customer.

So that’s my biggest tip to make sure that you are targeting at the right point in the customer journey. And that’s not always the top of the funnel, which is where a lot of people use Facebook advertising.

Case study: targeting the middle of the funnel for an inaugural ball

I want to talk about targeting in the middle of the funnel instead of just the top of the funnel and thinking about the whole customer journey. I helped market an inauguration ball in January. And the organizers were doing Google AdWords to drive people to the site, which makes sense for this particular event. Once people went to the site, however, we would pixel them with the Facebook pixel. So then on Facebook, the only ads that I was running, instead of trying to figure out which audience characteristics I needed to target, I only targeted people who had already been to the website and visited the ticket page.

My cost per click was very low and my conversion rate was very high because these were people that already visited the page and knew what the event was and knew what it was about. So that is a tip for targeting the middle of the funnel. And my next tip, I’ll talk about a spa that we did retargeting in the middle of the funnel with a video ad.

Case study: retargeting video viewers for a day spa

Now another case study of a client, where we’re talking about understanding the customer journey and targeting in the middle of the funnel, is a spa that had a special facial. And I had a video of the aesthetician talking about the facial. I retargeted an offer to people who had watched 50% of that video that we had placed on the Facebook page. We actually did a Facebook live so it got a little bit more attention and then people who had watched 50% of that video we sent the offer.

That is another example of instead of just sending the offer out to a cold audience or to an audience of certain characteristics to think about the process, and I talk about this all the time in all my content: what is that sales cycle? What does that look like? And think about where they are in that sales cycle. So I hope that you found that helpful. Feel free to respond with questions or comments.

And then my next little clip, I will share with you some of the other tips from other marketing experts for people who are struggling with getting spotty results with Facebook ads.

Top 3 Tips for improving your Facebook ads from other experts

If I look at all of the responses to this question about how to get better results with your Facebook ads, three things rise to the top. I’m going to share them right now and then I’m going to share with you my other sort of big Facebook tip that I think if you’re doing some Facebook advertising and not getting the results you want that you might be missing.

The first tip is to make sure that your specs are correct. Your image size is proper and that you’re not violating any of Facebook’s guidelines. I think people just kind of throw ads up there and don’t look at it.

And the second tip is after you create your ad to actually walk away. Work on something else before you make that ad live, then come back with fresh eyes to look at it. And when you’re doing that, you also want to check it on all the platforms, which you can easily do in the Facebook ad manager to make sure it looks the way you want it to on all the platforms. That’s really important to make sure that looking at it from a prospective customer’s eyes and not from your own eyes so that all the information that needs to be there as clear.

And the third tip is to make sure that you test, test, test. I see a lot of people throw out Facebook ads and say, “Oh, it didn’t work”. They didn’t have any variables. Now I don’t think you need 900 variables and testing, but you should certainly test some different hypotheses on what might work in ad copy and imagery. Make sure that you’re only testing one thing at a time when you’re comparing. So if you’re testing headline makes sure that everything else is the same. And if you’re testing imagery, make sure that the headlines are the same. So that you know what the difference maker is.

Those are the three biggest tips from all the other advice offered online. And in the next segment, I will share with you my other big tip besides focusing on the middle of the funnel that I want you to think about for your Facebook advertising.

Final Tip: Set up custom and lookalike audiences

My final tip about Facebook advertising is to think about making custom audiences and lookalike audiences. If you spend any time on Facebook advertising, you’re aware of this, but I find a lot of businesses are not. They’re trying to create audiences based on age and demographics and interests when they actually have customer data at their fingertips. You can upload your email list into Facebook, create that as a custom audience. You can put some code on your website to track everyone who visits your website, create that as a custom audience. From those custom audiences, you can then create lookalike audiences. So you’re saying to Facebook, “these are my people. I want more people like these people. I don’t know what it is that’s the same about them.” Because Facebook is not going to send back to you the characteristics that are similar in those custom audiences. But it will give you more people like those people.

And I suggest even if you’re just boosting posts, you’re not doing complete Facebook ad campaigns, if you create these custom and lookalike audiences, you can access them when you boost your post. So that’s a big change in the boost post from in the past when all you could do is kind of pick some demographics and general targeting. So that’s my other tip.

If you’re doing any Facebook advertising at all, even if it’s just boosting posts to be sure to go in, create these custom audiences. Put the Facebook pixel on your website so you’re tracking those people that have visited your website. And even if you’re not doing Facebook advertising, pixel them now. And from there you’ll be able to start with a better audience. That’s a warm audience. And then if you do a lookalike audience, that’s a cold audience, but it’s closer to what your audience looks like.

So that’s my big tip. I hope you find it helpful.

19 July 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Why You Should Take A Vacation From Your Business

Taking a Break From My Business on Virgin Islands

4 Tips to Help You Keep Your Marketing Going

 

Boats on beach in HaitiIt’s summertime. Time for rest and relaxation which is often hard when you are a business owner but it really is necessary.

I’ve been in business since 2000 and just did something I’ve never done before. I was out of the office for the better part of 3 weeks. That sounds insane, right?

Keep in mind that I am a solopreneur so I didn’t have anyone to cover for me while I was away.

Don’t worry, my clients were taken care of and with some careful planning on your part, you can do the same especially with your online marketing. Everything can be scheduled, right? And, guess what? You can also just take a break from posting content – I did.

I started with a mission trip to Haiti with my church. It was amazing and I’m happy to share details with you individually if you are interested. The key takeaway for me on this trip, unrelated to the mission’s work, was that I CAN be completely disconnected and, believe me, I was. In fact, when given the opportunity to get on Wi-Fi, I declined because I was afraid of all the messages I’d then feel like I had to answer. Knowing that I would be completely disconnected allowed me to plan for it.

Here’s what I did:

  • I started talking to my clients about 6-8 weeks before I left. We are usually 3-4 weeks ahead in planning but I wanted to get even further ahead on our planning calendars than we normally are.
  • I did have to double down on the work for these clients so that everything could be proofed and scheduled before I left.
  • I also reached out to my partners so they would not be surprised when they received my out of office messages.
  • I turned on my out of office messages for email and voicemail with clear instructions on how to communicate with me and when I would be back. This is key. I prefer email communication and I state that in my out of office voice mail. It’s just easier for me to respond in general to emails.
  • I could have also scheduled emails and social media posts to go out when I was gone as part of my own marketing efforts. I usually do this when I travel but since I was COMPLETELY off the grid, I decided to give my audience a break as well.

Taking a Break From My Business on Virgin IslandsAfter I returned from my trip to Haiti, I had exactly one business day and one Federal holiday at home before my next flight left. This also took some planning as I had scheduled meetings and calls with my clients for that day to be sure everything was on track.

My next trip was to the US Virgin Islands. I was technically no longer off the grid but my cell phone often didn’t work at the best beaches and the Wi-Fi was fairly weak. And, I wanted to vacation. (That’s my birthday selfie at Trunk Bay with my son and his dad.) I had updated my out of office message to state that I did have sporadic access to email and voicemail as that was the truth. And I did boot up my laptop a few times for clients while I was there but it was mostly just to check on things.

What are my key takeaways?

  1. You can take a break and you should. I need to allow myself to unplug more often. It was incredibly freeing to be completely offline as I was in Haiti.
  2. Planning calendars are key to keeping your marketing moving at a steady pace. Please sit down and create a calendar and plan for your marketing activities. So many business owners I know are constantly running and putting out fires. This should not be the norm for your marketing.
  3. Be reasonable in your planning. Don’t try to do a ton of marketing activities especially if you are not doing them now. I would prioritize consistent email marketing and a basic social media presence on your top social platform. Once that is steady and routine you can add more activities.
  4. Use the scheduling tools available to you for online marketing. I scheduled email marketing campaigns, social media posts, and Facebook ad campaigns all to run while I was away.

Do you find it hard to get away from your business or do you have tips to share on how you do take vacations? Let me know in the comments. You may inspire a tired business owner to take that needed break.

31 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

3 Reasons Super Bowl Ads are STILL Bad Examples of Marketing

2018 Super Bowl ads

2018 Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl may be the one time in American TV viewing throughout the year when the public looks forward to the advertisements. Super Bowl ads have fast become part of the Super Bowl Sunday experience as much as the game, the snacks, and the halftime show. In fact, in lieu of a wardrobe malfunction or a bad 2nd down call on the 1 yard line with 26 seconds left to play, the ads are often the most talked about part of the game, especially if you are a fan of any of the 30 NFL teams that were also at home watching the game.

Super Bowl ads may be entertaining, but they are bad marketing examples, especially for small business owners.

1. No call to action. Marketing today especially is about eliciting a measurable response. With limited time and resources, small businesses cannot waste any of them on branding. They need to have a call to action that gets prospects in their sales funnel. What is that first step in your sales cycle? What do you want your prospects to do once they find you? Is it subscribing to your email list? Filling out a form on your website? Calling for an appointment? This needs to be very clear in all your marketing. Unfortunately, most Super Bowl ads, do not have a call to action or more specifically a call to action that leads prospects down the path to purchase.

This year, however, I like two ads that have a direct call to action: Groupon and Stella Artois.


Tiffany Haddish gives a clear call to action: download the Groupon app.

 


Matt Damon implores you to buy a limited-edition Stella Artois Chalice which provides water to someone impacted by the global water crisis for 5 years.

2. No value to the customer. Super Bowl ads are more about being cute and getting talked about than delivering value to the customer. As a small business, you cannot afford to be cute and not make it clear to your customers what you do. As a society, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter; the most effective marketing is to be direct about whom you serve and how you can help them.

A good example from this year’s Super Bowl ads is Percil with honorable mention going to Febreeze.


There’s no question what Percil does. This is a good clear message.

3. No increase in sales. Often the most-loved ads do not improve the sales. Perhaps, the most-loved and favorite Super Bowl ad of all time featuring Mean Joe Greene was pulled after a few months by Coca-Cola because sales did not increase.

Unfortunately, this beloved ad did not help Coke sales.

Small businesses need to make sure there is a positive Return on Investment for every dollar spent marketing. Winning the ads on Super Bowl Sunday does not equate to winning sales. A smart small business owner should not be concerned with winning ad competitions, but rather sales competitions.

So by all means, enjoy the ads and the memes that spring from them. You can view them all here. However, please do NOT model your marketing after Super Bowl ads. Model your marketing with a good solid strategy that focuses on eliciting a measurable response.

Integration of Social Media

Now that social media is a key factor in business marketing for businesses of all sizes, I wanted to give some honorable mentions to those ads which do a good job incorporating social media. There are the occasional social media handles and hashtags at the end of some of the ads but this early Super Bowl commercial took it a step further.

The ad by Kraft is a great way to engage the audience during the Super Bowl however, they are asking viewers to go to a website and there is no indication in the ad of appropriate hashtags or Kraft social handles. Sometimes it is the little details that can greatly affect a campaign.


Kraft wants you to share your family game day pictures to be part of their Super Bowl commercial.

All your marketing should include your social media information. However, before you start pushing people to your social media, be sure you are not making these 6 Social Media Mistakes.

And finally, an honorable mention: part 2 of the Michelob Ultra Super Bowl commercial. Just for fun, because it’s Chris Pratt but mainly because it includes my favorite country song from my childhood. You can ask my siblings, they will attest…I Like Beer by Tom T Hall.


Michelob Ultra “I like beer” commercial is part 2 of Super Bowl ad.

 

The original version of this post was published in 2015: 3 Reasons Super Bowl Ads are Bad Examples of Marketing.

27 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Year End List Growth in Constant Contact

Constant Contact List Growth

If you are a Constant Contact user, be sure to grab this quick report before year end.

Constant Contact List Growth

Constant Contact tracks your list growth and gives you the following options under Contacts > Reports:

last 30 days
last 60 days
last 90 days
month to date
year to date

This is all great information and you should be tracking your list growth and unsubscribes on a regular basis.

However, the year to date data will reset on January 1. So, follow these instructions to grab the data before the New Year.

1. Log into your Constant Contact account
2. Select Contacts
3. Select Reports
4. Select “year to date” in the drop down on the right
5. Take a screenshot of the full window, including the “Growth by Source” information below the overall growth chart. I use Snagit by TechSmith but you can use any screenshot software or just use Print Screen on a Windows machine or Shift-Command-4 on a Mac.
6. Save your screenshot so you can access the data when you are ready to review it.

Here’s a two-minute video demonstration: