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Google Ads or Social Media Ads – Which is Right for my Business?

It seems like there are so many different options in digital marketing, and for those in business sometimes the information just seems overwhelming and confusing. That doesn’t mean you should avoid digital marketing altogether, on the contrary, internet marketing can provide great exposure for your business at a cost that is generally more reasonable than traditional marketing—and what’s best it works.

What is Your Business & Who is Your Customer?

The very first step is to define your business and your potential client before you hone in on a strategy that will work for you. For instance, if you work in a service industry such as plumbing or appliance repairs, your strategy might look completely different from someone who is selling a specific good. Determine what you are selling and more importantly how your current or potential client come to purchase—then you will have a better idea of how to strategize moving forward.

Digital Advertising Options

While there are many options for digital advertising online, the majority of businesses usually participate in one (or both) of the two big options– Google and Facebook.

Google Advertising

Google is continually growing and changing, but what they always offer are robust options for those who are looking to market online. Even with all the options, most clients tend to rely on two main forms of Google ads.

Google Adwords – Search engine marketing is undeniably effective because it allows you the most important potential client targeting available. When your future consumer is looking for the goods or services you provide, their first stop is almost always Google. There are over 3.5 billion searches on Google each day—and that is activity that should not, and really cannot be ignored. Google Adwords allows you to capitalize on those searches and on that very moment when your potential customer is looking for your product or services by listing your business at the top their search engine result pages.

As a business, you only pay for the ad placement Google provides when someone clicks– which is why this strategy is aptly named “Pay-Per-Click.” Depending on the business you are in, there may be high competition for placement on search engines, which drives up the cost per click.

Google Display Ads – Display ads provide another avenue to advertise your business. You’ve all seen banner ads when browsing—and often you question “How did they know?”. And the while the long answers is complicated, the short answer is: Google. This type of display advertising is generally referred to as remarketing, and it allows marketers to send ads to you based on your search engine or browsing history. It’s sort of a way for a business to say, “Hey! Remember us! We’re still here, come check us out again!”

However, display advertising doesn’t end there. Google has a large family of advertisers, allowing marketers and business owners to place ads on specific websites that your customers are likely to visit. With the large network of advertising and both arms of a display campaign, your company can be everywhere your potential customer is and keep you front of mind at the most opportune times.

Facebook Ads

Social media advertising, specifically on Facebook and Instagram, is a different strategy altogether. Google enables you to introduce your company to a client base that needs your goods or services, however Facebook allows you to introduce your good or service, to someone who may not have realized they needed you in the first place– giving you access to a new potential clientele base that you may have not even known existed.

Unlike other traditional advertising, Facebook allows you to target, rather specifically, to the people who are your most likely customer. While geographical targeting is a feature of most forms of advertising, Facebook goes a step further. Looking to market to parents or mothers? No problem. Want to target to homeowners? Done. Have a product great for outdoorsy folks? Social media can cover that too. You can target so many different interests and determining factors that your ad, and your budget, will me far more effective and allow you a great return on your investment.

 

Which Advertising Platform is Right For Me?

First, they might both be beneficial to your marketing efforts, so take the time to determine your ultimate objective. If you’re in a service industry goal is getting more phones to ring, Google search engine ads is a great way to go. Plumber marketing, for instance, is a great example. When someone needs a plumber’s services, they generally need them immediately and go straight to Google—so a PPC campaign is a great strategy. A company selling a specific product, however, knows branding and loyalty are important, so utilizing social media advertising can help them stay relevant with their client base.

However, in most cases, companies often succeed using a combination of both strategies. It’s also important to consider your budget and competition– cost per click can go up depending on the competition in the field, so do your proper research, or rely on a digital marketing company, that can help you with the process.

Getting Started

Though we haven’t mentioned it just yet, no digital marketing is going to be effective if you don’t have a quality website in place. The website must be up to date and work well with different devices and operating systems. Your site should instill authority and give the potential client a feeling of trust. The website also needs to easily convey contact information—in varying formats, email, phone, contact forms, etc. Landing pages are also an important factor—if you are running an ad for a sale on a coffee mug, but the ad just dumps you on a main page, you’re going to navigate away from that product and never look back. Making sure your ads link to the right pages is of huge importance.

Once you have a webpage that will help encourage new business, then you can begin creating and running ads. A lot of businesses opt to hire professional marketing help to manage these ads, which can often save time and create a much stronger and more effective campaign.

However, outsourcing is not an option for all businesses, and both Google and Facebook are aware of that. Both provide excellent training courses, customer support, and tutorials that can help people navigate the process.

In the end, no matter what strategy you adopt, the results you experience with effective digital marketing are hard to ignore. Analytics and tracking capabilities enable you to see results and utilize that data to reach your overall marketing goal. Don’t be overwhelmed, and don’t be afraid—and if you are, contact us today.

Three Tips for Creating a Great Online Reputation for Your Plumbing Business

In today’s digitally focused world, a business’s online reputation is of utmost importance. Before doing business with a company, almost every customer will go online to learn more about their rates, services and, yes, their customer reviews.

An online reputation is especially important in the plumbing industry. After all, people will be letting workers into their homes to repair vital and expensive pieces of equipment. They want to make sure that the workers are clean and respectful, and that work will be completed successfully and fairly.

There are several things you can do to maintain a good reputation in the plumbing industry. The first of these is to build a strong social media presence.

Social Media

Many people are on social media today. Being present on social media will help people to find your business. Establishing the right kind of profiles will also let your customers know you are trustworthy, credible and have good standing in the industry.

Start by using professional photos that feature your workers and the people behind your company. When people can attach a face to a product, it will make the brand seem more personable and relatable. A great company story can also increase engagement and allow consumers to make a personal connection.

Follow up by engaging in conversations with your customers. Ask for their opinions and respond to their questions and comments. This will show an extra level of customer care.

Post regularly to stay present in the public eye and show that your company is on top of things. Share pictures of jobs that have been completed successfully, and your workers interacting with customers. Post informative blogs on your website and share links on your social media accounts.

Managing Reviews

As much as we would all like to avoid bad reviews, they are likely to occur in any line of business. Sometimes mistakes are made or sometimes you are dealing with a customer that is just having a bad day. Either way, it’s important not to dwell on these mistakes, but to deal with them effectively.

Here are some tips on how to deal with a bad review:

Respond promptly: Never let a review go unanswered. Respond promptly. If you wait too long, your customer may get more upset and the issue could escalate.

Be Polite and Professional: When dealing with a bad review, it’s important not to take things personally. Stay polite and professional and avoid being defensive and insulting. If your communication escalates into an argument, it will look bad for everyone involved.

Take the Matter Offline: It is likely that, for customer complaints to resolve, action will eventually have to be taken offline. You may have to send your customer a coupon or exchange to make things right. If this is the case, be sure to mention that in your online communication so those following the thread will know things are being handled on another level.

Be sure to respond to good reviews as well! Let customers who take the time to write something positive about you know that they are appreciated.

Integrate Reviews on Your Website

You can also use your website to help build your online reputation. The best way to do this is to include customer testimonials in your content. You can also include links to 3rd party reviews that appear on sites like Yelp and Google in the footer of your website. Including these links and testimonials will benefit your business in the following ways:

Conversion Rate Optimization: Customers that see positive customer reviews will be more likely to use your business.

Ethical Link Building: Having quality embedded links on your site can help increase your search engine visibility. The links you include to third party sites on your page can work as quality links while showing your company in the best light.

Rich Snippet Generation: If you use structured data, your reviews will be displayed as part of your Google search results.

SEO: Well reviewed companies are likely to rank higher on search engines.

If you are a plumbing business owner, you know how much your business means to you. Reputation management is vital in helping your company to grow and continue to move forward.  Be sure to do what you can to show your business in the best light, so you can keep those pipes clear for years to come!

3 Ways to Start the New Year Off Right

It’s 2016. As we start to make our New Year’s resolutions (eating healthy, working out), it’s important to make a business-oriented resolution. This is the perfect time to take a step back and analyze how your past year has done, and see where you want this year to take you. Below are three ways to start the New Year off right with your social media management.

Make Goals

Refocus on why you got social media profiles in the first place. Were all your original goals met? What was the objective for getting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+? Think about how you want to expand your profiles and what you want your customers and clients to get out of your profiles. Do you want to get more likes? Reach more people through advertising? Post quality content? Make goals for 2016 and do everything you can to reach them.

Create a Strategy

Now that you have goals set, create a strategy that will help you achieve those goals. Going into a social media campaign blind is dangerous. And your goals will not be met. Focus on your goals and make a plan that will help you achieve your goals. If you strategy isn’t working, it’s okay to fix it and try again. It’s okay if you need to start from scratch and try all over, but create a plan before starting a campaign.

Clean up Your Profiles

It’s the perfect time to go through your social media profiles and check to see if everything is correct: address, phone number, hours, etc. Is there anything on your profile that is inaccurate, doesn’t relate or no longer useful? Clutter makes important messages get lost easily and people skim over junk. Display only useful, quality content on your pages and address all questions, comments and concerns.

6 Commandments for Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is ideal because it’s cheap and easy. But it can also be frustrating when you aren’t seeing results.  You can’t sit back and expect to see your social media platforms changing on their own.  It takes time, patience and a clear marketing strategy to get your customers attention. With so many websites, social media platforms and advertising, it’s hard for your business to stand out from the crowd. What captures your customer’s attention?  What’s going to make them look at your business instead of your competitor?

Get ahead of the social media game by following The 6 Commandments for social media marketing and get your message seen, shared and liked.

Have a Focused Strategy

If you don’t have a clear, focused marketing strategy, everything you do on social media will be a waste. You can’t just post statuses, retweet tweets and share photos hoping that that will be enough. Know what you are going to post and when. Research the best times to post content, and conduct your own study to see what content your customers are interested in.

Grow a Meaningful Audience/Following

Many businesses think it’s important to have a lot of likes. And it is important. But it’s more important to have meaningful likes. 50 likes who are loyal and repeating customers is more beneficial than 200 likes when those customers don’t ever purchase your products or services.

Create Quality Content

Once you have your strategy, make sure you are posting quality content that will be read, liked and shared. If your content isn’t getting read, then what was the point of even posting it?

Listen to your Audience

You’ll be getting reviews and comments throughout your social media platforms. Listen to what they have to say and turn the criticism into making your company a better place for business. See what they like and don’t like about you. See what they are saying about your employees, managers and maybe even you. Take everything into consideration and see what you can learn from your customers.

Acknowledge your Audience

Don’t just listen to them. But acknowledge them as well. Comment back saying you heard them. Answer their questions, respond to comments and reviews and prove that you are a human. That you are on social media to have a two-sided conversation with your audience. That when they reach out you, they will get a human response. That you are not on social media to throw deals, news and information in their face, but that you want to tell them about your business and allow them to talk back.

Accessibility

Now that you are listening and acknowledging your audience, do it in a timely manner. Make yourself accessible to your customers. If they complain about your business, you want to get that under control ASAP! Don’t let it sit on your business page for days before you make a move. Respond quickly and professionally and handle any and all situations how you would want to be treated.

Boost Your Social Media Presence

It’s not enough to just have a social media account – you must make a presence on the various platforms. What’s the point of having a Facebook page if you aren’t going to use it. Social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with customers around the world. Businesses can share deals, sales and general information where customers and clients can communicate back and fully share their experience by writing a review.  Below are six ways to boost your social media presence.

Look for Opportunities for Discussion

By engaging with your customers you’re showing that you are a real human. Everybody is sick of automated voice calls or talking to someone overseas. By discussing trending topics, you show your audience that you are aware of the latest buzz and ready to get on board with that conversation. Everybody has an opinion. And it seems at this day in age, that everybody loves to express their opinion on social media sites. Look for those opportunities and grab them.

Communication

Communication is key in any relationship. Listen to your audience and understand their needs. Social media is not a way one form of communication. You’re not meant to talk at your audience, but with them.

Produce Good Content

Your audience won’t pay attention to your social media profiles unless you’re producing good, interesting content that pertains to them in some way or another. Experiment to find out what exactly your target audience likes: stories, information, images, video. Besides breaking news topics, keep your content related to your business. Your audience has liked and followed your pages because you have a product or service that they want or need and they are specifically interested in that product. The fasted way to lose followers is by producing content that don’t want or need to see.

Engage with Everyone

It’s as simple as that. Engage with the customers who leave reviews. Engage with the customers who ask questions on your wall. Engage with the customers who tweet about you. Engage with the customers who send you a private message. Engage with everyone and they will communicate back.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags have proven to bring more engagement to tweets and posts. Look for trending hashtags and strike up a discussion on your wall. Create your own brand hashtag and use it consistently.

Give Them a Reason

Give your audience a reason to engage with your business. Provide a benefit so they want to follow you and continue to support your business and social media presence.

4 Steps to Setting up a Facebook Ad

Businesses love using social media in their marketing strategy for two reasons. 1. It’s free. 2. Hundreds of people can easily be reached, for free. So when business owners hear that they need to be using Facebook ads and spending money, things get a little heated. Facebook ads are important when it comes to marketing your Facebook page. You want to market your Facebook page to gain likes. Likes are crucial for getting your information (posts) out to your customers. Unless a user stumbles upon your Facebook page and scrolls through your wall, they aren’t seeing what you are posting. Only users who like your page will be seeing your posts on a regular basis. You don’t need to spend $100s of dollars to get results, a small budget will get you started and likes will only grow from there.

In four easy steps you can be on your way to setting up a simple “likes campaign” to help drive users to your Facebook page.

  1. Once you get on your ads manager and hit the green button, create an ad, choose the promote your page option. There are 10 different campaigns to choose from, but starting off with campaign to promote your page will familiarize yourself with how Facebook ads work, and will get your some likes in the process. Select your business page.
  2. The next step is to define your target audience. You can be as specific or broad as you like. The more specific you get, the more your campaign will be delivered to people who are more likely to “like” your page. Choose a location, age and gender to get started. The other options (that help make a more specific audience) are choosing a language, interests, behaviors and categories. For example, if your business is a boutique, you might target women who have an interest in fashion, shoes, and clothes.
  3. The third step is to set up a budget. Choose either a lifetime or a daily budget. The lifetime budget will spread your whole budget over the course of the campaign, where a daily budget will spend the budget you set every day through the course of the campaign. For example, in a lifetime budget you would set $50 for the month and Facebook would spend the money evenly throughout the 30 days. A daily budget would spend $50 every day. This is where you will choose if you want to run your campaign continuously until you end the campaign, or you can set a start and end time.  
  4. The last step is the creative section. Choose an image and text and preview how the ad will appear in Facebook. The ad can only have 20% text in the image and 90 characters in the text. Head on over to https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay to use the grid tool. This tool will help you keep your image at 20% text.

Once everything looks right, it’s time to place the order. Your ad will go into review and automatically starts as soon as it’s approved by Facebook. This usually takes 15-30 minutes. The most common reason why ads don’t get approved is because users don’t follow the 20% text rule. You must follow the 20% text rule.

Happy advertising.  

If the Wizarding World Had Modern Technology

I just got done reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. For all you muggles, that’s the last book. It’s always bitter-sweet finishing that series. I laugh, I cry (a lot) but mostly it makes me long for my Hogwarts letter. I like the simple life of spells and potions and a little adventure towards the end of the school year. There are no cellphones, no internet and no status updates.

Speaking of cell phones, I get this argument a lot: Why doesn’t the Wizarding World have cell phones? Simple. Cell phones were still fairly new. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone takes place in 1991, and the first cell phone was put on the market in 1984, only 7 years before. Sure, cell phones had gotten slightly smaller than the 80’s brick, but it was still big, bulky and hard to carry around. And people didn’t carry around cell phones in the 90’s like they do today. Simply put, there was no need for cell phones (not to mention the main characters were eleven in the first book).

Oh, how different the Wizarding World would be with modern technology.

For starters, owls would simply be pets. There would be no need to send mail if students could call or text their parents from Hogwarts. And what fun would that be? Getting mail is the best!

Molly Weasley wouldn’t have a reason for her clock. Molly’s clock is consisted of multiple hands, each hand representing one of the Weasley family members. The hands show exactly where each member of the family is: Hogwarts, The Ministry, The Burrow, etc. With social media, Molly would know exactly where her children and husband are by their status updates.

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Speaking of Facebook statuses, Voldemort would have found Harry a lot sooner. Let’s be honest, some people (teenagers) aren’t the smartest when it comes to social media. They post way too much information on their personal lives, including where they are.

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The Daily Prophet would be all online. No need for newspapers with moving portraits, printing is a waste of money when you can post it on the internet for free. Howlers would be useless. The sorting hat wouldn’t be needed when you can check everybody’s social media pages to determine where students should be placed. The list goes on and on. But, Harry Potter wouldn’t be the same if witches and wizards had modern technology. These are the kind of things that make it so magical.
And never forget, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Social Media vs a Blind Date

First dates are a work of art. We’ve all been there, we’ve all experienced the nauseated feeling we get as we wait for the doorbell to ring or experience the (what-seems-like-forever) walk to the door. We’re already dreading something that hasn’t even happened yet. And there’s a 50% chance we might actually have a good time on this particular date. So, why do we feel this way? Maybe it’s that we get so comfortable with what we know, that we are afraid to branch out and try new things. i.e., everybody freaked out when Facebook added the timeline to your personal wall.

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” – everybody on my newsfeed after that incident.

So what, Facebook changed in appearance and a little in how we do things? Did it make it better? Eh, that’s debatable. It definitely didn’t make it worse. The point is, Facebook forced us to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. The real question is, how have we coped when new social media sites have come along?

Twitter was an instant success and Instagram took off. So we weren’t afraid of those sites. Google + hasn’t been doing nearly as well as it thought it would and Ello is barely in existence. Some social media sites hit it off and others don’t.

But, why do we like certain sites and not the others? Did we try a “blind date” with all of them and decide which sites we agreed to go steady with? I’ll admit, I’m not that keen on certain ones either. I tried out Twitter, but I haven’t fully committed but Instagram has stolen my heart. One of the problems could have been that Twitter only allows so many characters in one tweet (trust issues). How can you trust something when you may not be getting the full story?!

The whole point of this rant is that maybe we should give all social media platforms a try before dumping them before the relationship starts. Just like a good, old-fashioned blind date, trying a new social media platform is a good thing to do before committing to just one. Try them out, see what you like and don’t like about each platform. And give them time. Sometimes you just flat out need some good quality time alone with each of them to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

No matter what happens, Facebook will always be there to welcome you back.

What the Hello is Ello?

By now, almost everybody has already heard – and forgotten – about Ello, the ad-free social media site that became popular in the Fall of 2014. But the real question is, what happened to Ello? And why hasn’t it gotten big?

Ello is an invite only social media site, making it either:

  1. Exciting.
    1. OMG I have to get an invite!
    2. Obviously this site is for cool people only, that’s why you need the invite.
    3. Have you received your invite request from Ello? Because I have!
  2. Lame.
    1. Why do I have to get an invite to this social media site? I’m not even going to try.
    2. I’m not that desperate, I don’t need to get an invite to feel good about myself.
    3. Seriously?

According to the startup, the site received 31,000 invite requests per hour at one point. So, apparently, there were people who fell under the #1 category. I took it upon myself to request an invite, so I could see how this ad-free social media site was different from Facebook, and if I thought it would ever take off. It took three weeks for Ello to respond to my invite – maybe I’m not cool enough – but alas, I got invited in. I haven’t done anything with with my page. By the time I got invited in I was uninterested, I had moved on, forgotten about Ello completely (Although the weekly emails from Ello are a *nice reminder).

The ad-free feature was supposed to be another bonus. A social media with a Facebook type feel but without all the ads. Awesome, right? This could go two ways:

  1. Awesome
    1. No ads? Thank you.
    2. The retargeting ads on the right hand side started getting old after a while, there’s a reason I didn’t buy that dress I was looking at!
    3. Facebook is too concerned about money. Get over it and stop showing us ads!
  2. So what?
    1. Just use an ad-blocking software.
    2. Ads? Huh, I guess I don’t notice them.
    3. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.

Ello should have figured out from Google+ that trying to replace Facebook will be almost impossible. Even Twitter (although, yes, it is a popular site) hasn’t totally replaced Facebook. Ads and all, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. But Ello sure has. It came, it tried to stick around, it got forgotten about. Sorry Ello, better luck next time.

 

*It’s not nice, it’s 100%, completely annoying.