The Beginner’s Guide to B2B Facebook Advertising

“Facebook ads? But we’re B2B!”

Back when I worked on the Managed Services team at WordStream, this was the response I got from B2B clients after I suggested expanding our efforts outside of search. I’d share anecdotes of previous success and talk them into starting out small; after a few weeks of seeing the results, they were sold. That was two years ago, when lead ads and pixels were nothing more than a glimmer in Mr. Zuckerberg’s eye.

In 2017, Facebook is robust enough to do the convincing by itself. At least, it should be.

For B2C advertisers the case is obvious, right? Facebook is an exceptional tool for growing brand awareness and engaging with prospects, a place to find new customers, to offer promotions and serve exceptional remarketing creative, ultimately inciting affordable conversions. When it comes to multi-touch B2B marketing, however—industries with months-long sales cycles and niche clientele—skeptics remain.

beginner's guide to b2b facebook advertising

To those B2B outfits that still believe the world’s most popular social platform is nothing more than an echo chamber for fake news and feline hijinks: you are missing out on a massive business growth opportunity.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the fundamental components of B2B Facebook advertising—everything you’ll need to find the right prospects and destroy your competition (fret not: we’ll cover ad creation at a later date). You’ll learn about:

  • Useful campaign-level marketing objectives for B2B Facebook advertising
  • Audience creation for B2B advertising
  • How to build and manage ad sets effectively

But first…

Installing the Facebook Pixel

This is me begging you.

Please. PLEASE install the Facebook Pixel on your website before moving forward.

The Facebook Pixel allows you to optimize for almost any type of on-site action, provided you put the damn thing on your website.

 b2b facebook advertising pixel installation is key

The various segments of the pixel can be customized based on campaign goals; this allows you to track conversions as sales on some pages and form fills on others. Being able to distinguish between conversion types is obviously important to your bottom line: nobody ever traded a dozen email addresses for a yacht.

Once you’ve got the code installed, ensuring that it’s firing correctly is simple; download the Facebook Pixel Helper, a Chrome plugin that glows a putrid shade of green when everything’s working correctly, to make your life easier.

 facebook pixel helper chrome plugin helps b2b advertisers measure roi

In the event the plugin reveals an issue, check out Facebook’s pixel troubleshooting suggestions; whatever you do, ensure that it’s firing correctly before you start pouring ad spend into the channel. It’s especially important for B2B Facebook advertisers to have some sort of conversion tracking enabled; in addition to providing your business with important attribution data, having a working pixel will also allow you to maximize the value of custom audiences (more on those in a bit).

Now that your Facebook pixel’s installed and firing (it can take up to 24 hours for it to register so don’t be afraid to kick your feet up) it’s time to put your products or services in front of the right people.

For B2B Facebook Campaigns, All Marketing Objectives Are Not Created Equal

B2B advertising is almost always a complex, multi-touch affair (and that’s after identifying the right audiences and ad formats). This is where understanding the types of campaigns available to you comes into play.

Facebook offers a highly scaffolded campaign creation experience. What does that mean in English?

Facebook silos campaign objectives into three categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Although each of these categories has a legit use case for B2B advertisers, not all the individual objectives are worth deploying on a consistent basis.

 facebook campaign objectives for b2b advertisers 

See those little guns? Pretend they’re blasting objectives right out of your Business Manager UI.

Product catalog sales and Store visits are, by and large, useless for B2B advertisers. Reach campaigns can be great for getting top-level content in front of unfamiliar prospects, but without a robust content program and some serious remarketing in place, these campaigns are tough to tie back to revenue. And while you might be able to find some use for them, the three eliminated objectives in the Consideration column only have the potential to represent mid-funnel value for your business if you have the requisite collateral. Frankly, most small B2B advertisers don’t have apps and find images more cost-effective to spin up than video.

The four remaining objectives—Brand awareness, Traffic, Lead generation, and Conversions—are the areas in which you need to focus if you want to successfully advertise your products or services to other businesses on Facebook. From left to right, these objectives align with what we in the business call a “funnel.” Here’s how it works:

Brand awareness

These campaigns pull prospects into the top of your marketing funnel. The goal of these campaigns is to pique prospects’ interest.

facebook b2b advertising brand awareness campaign goals 

Likely, they’re not going to lead directly to a sale (though some people may be so taken with your messaging that they can’t help but sign on the dotted line). The audiences you target within brand awareness campaigns should be broad, made up of layered characteristics your prospects may possess. Brand awareness campaigns are also a great place to use 8%-10% lookalike audiences based on your past converters or existing customers. This allows you to avoid putting your techy SaaS offering in front of geriatric technophobes.

Traffic

Traffic campaigns allow you to drive…. Traffic! You’ve got two options here: you can send prospects to your Facebook page (don’t, it’s a waste of money) or your website (ding ding ding!).

facebook for b2b advertisers campaign objective drive traffic 

These campaigns are one of my favorite methods of building highly specific remarketing lists (and, in turn, lookalike audiences). The strategy is relatively straightforward; while with Brand awareness campaigns you’re likely looking to cast a wide net, Traffic campaigns are the place to begin ratcheting down, matching your products and services to specific demographic, psychographic, and industry profiles.

Lead generation

Pound for pound, Facebook lead gen ads represent the best bang for the B2B advertiser’s buck.  They allow you to collect prospects’ information directly within Facebook, removing a potential point of friction: your website.

facebook lead ads are perfect for b2b advertisers 

This isn’t to say that your site’s not gorgeous; the real win with lead ads is the fact that they’re auto-filled using information pulled directly from a prospect’s Facebook page. If all it takes to sign up for X—where X is your offer—is two clicks, a prospect who isn’t particularly familiar with your brand is more likely to convert this way than if they’d been asked to enter that same information manually.

Facebook lead ads allow you to collect valuable contact information from your prospects, which you can use to build email lists, add prospects to your email nurture program, or simply hand warm leads over to your sales team.

Conversion campaigns

These are your closers, the ace up your sleeve. They also tend to be expensive. For that reason, I advise that you NEVER use Conversion campaigns to send prospects to pages on your website proper; instead, maximize the value of every click (you’re payin’ for ‘em) by sending traffic to targeted landing pages. If you sell software, conversion campaigns should be used to funnel prospects to product trials or demo signups.

***

Understanding which campaign types align with your business goals will help you build an effective foundation for B2B advertising on Facebook. Of course, even the best B2B Facebook campaign will fall flat on its face if you’re not filling it with the right ad sets.

Ad Sets: Where the Magic Happens

While campaigns are containers defined by objectives, the ad set level is where you’ll control everything from budget and scheduling to audience and ad creation. You know, the important stuff that makes Facebook a completely viable channel for your B2B marketing budget.

 facebook business manager ad set logo

Before we talk ad types and audiences (the fun stuff), though, let’s jump into budgeting and scheduling.

Budget & Scheduling

In Facebook, you can assign each ad set a daily or lifetime budget.

If you’ve spent time managing an AdWords account, daily budgets will probably feel more familiar to you; simply assign a daily spend threshold, a start date, and an end date. I like to use small daily budgets for early-stage B2B clients because they’re more predictable; they’re perfect for experimentation, figuring out what works without inadvertently blowing through budget.

That being said, Facebook will spend your money each day, no matter what.

facebook b2b advertising ad scheduling and budgeting at the ad set level 

For more seasoned Facebook marketers, I’d suggest working with a lifetime budget; just use relatively short (3-5 days) intervals for your start and end dates until you’re more comfortable with the shift away from daily normalcy. Facebook will deploy budget across the period you’ve selected in the way that makes the most sense in relation to your campaign goal.

Advertisers can game this system to squeeze a little more value out of lifetime budgets by implementing ad scheduling; think of it like a negative placement on the Google Display network.

b2b facebook ads ad scheduling  

Basically, you’re telling Facebook that you’d like it to determine when to serve your ads within a given period, but forcing the algorithm to ignore time slots during which your prospects aren’t likely to convert. This ensure that your lifetime budget isn’t squandered in the wee hours of the morning or on the weekends, when your prospects are too busy with fantasy football rosters to book a demo.

While budget management should be guided by performance, you need to keep those campaign goals we just ran through in mind.

Use ad scheduling in conversion campaigns to funnel prospects into product demos while they’re sitting at the office, then open your ad scheduling up (or revert to a lower daily budget) on lower value campaigns with offers that can be consumed at all hours (like a content download).

Ad Placement

While determining ad spend and scheduling are important steps towards making Facebook a viable marketing platform for your business, all that hard work can be undone by poorly chosen placements. You see, “Facebook Ads” doesn’t mean “News Feed ads.” Unless you tell it otherwise, Facebook ads are eligible to show up in obscure corners of the internet, too.

facebook ad placement for b2b advertisers 

Within Facebook itself, ads can be served in:

  • The news feed
  • Groups
  • Right column
  • Instant articles
  • In-stream videos

While some of these placements are useful to B2B advertisers (lookin’ at you, news feed and right column) the rest afford less visibility and decrease opportunities for conversion. You’re in the business of making money, not being ignored. You want ad engagement. Make sure your ads show up in the right places by opting out of automatic placements.

facebook for b2b advertisers don't use automatic placements 

Facebook states that and choosing custom placements will “reduce the number of people you reach,” when compared with the automatic option. But if that reduction means an increase in quality, is it really an issue?

Facebook has a handful of other placement options but, outside of boosting brand awareness, they’re not particularly useful for B2B advertisers.

It gives you the ability to segment your advertising by device (I’d recommend sticking with “all devices” unless you’ve got some mobile-specific campaign ideas).

b2b advertisers should pay attention to the devices their ads are showing on 

Facebook ads also allow you to advertise on Instagram: that’s right, the Image-centric social channel doesn’t have its own advertising interface. Instead, advertisers can opt to show their creative in either feed or story form. Finally, Facebook ads can also be served across the Facebook Audience Network (those obscure corners of the internet I mentioned earlier). In my experience, both Instagram and the Audience Network are only useful for B2B advertisers when included in remarketing campaigns; if you’re going with custom placements, opt out. 

POTENTIAL GAMECHANGER ALERT

As I was writing this guide, Facebook just announced a change that allows advertisers to “select specific placements within the Audience Network to control where ads will be shown.” That changes things…

 facebook audience network improvement managed placements

With the ability to target specific sites on the Audience Network, you can serve creative in places your customers frequent. If you currently use Managed Placements over on AdWords, copy your list of sites into Facebook and see if any of them are on the Audience Network, too. It’s worth experimenting with!

Audiences: The Key to Facebook Ads Success

Facebook’s suite of targeting options makes creating effective B2C campaigns straightforward.

If your restaurant has a projector, a particularly rare hefeweizen on tap, and serves up the most eclectic wings in the city, Facebook makes it incredibly easy to target football-loving beer aficionados looking to watch kung fu movies within 5 miles of your front door.

example of interest targeted b2c facebook ads audience 

Finding a business’s primary decision makers, on the other hand, can prove to be a bit tricky.

While AdWords gives you the ability to segment your offerings based on keywords (and thus, intent), Facebook is audience based. Instead of finding prospects based on a direct input (a search query), you can layer dozens of distinguishing factors to create a model of your ideal customer. In more touchy-feely corners of marketing we might call this a buyer persona. If you can consistently pair the right audience with the right offer, you’re well on your way to B2B marketing dominance.

Facebook audience creation comes in three main flavor, each of which is useful for B2B advertisers: core, custom, and lookalike.

Core Audience Creation

Outside of Custom and Lookalike audiences (which have their own interface), most your audience creation will occur at the ad set level. Enter any ad set in your account and you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

facebook ads b2b core audience creation 

There’s a lot going on here (we’ll touch on that first “Custom Audiences” section in a minute), but it’s all very intuitive.

Location, age, gender, and language allow you to whittle away subsets of your audience who, despite conveying an affinity for your product, simply aren’t a fit. Think of this section as the audience equivalent of ad scheduling. It doesn’t do you any good if the Latvian version of your perfect prospect clicks an ad for something you only sell to businesses within 100 miles of Boston: save your budget for the people who can actually become customers.

The “Detailed Targeting” section at the bottom of the Audience interface allows you to include and exclude prospects who display specific characteristics. This is an incredible way to ensure your ads are served to the right people, making it easier to maximize the value of every dollar spent on advertising.

In addition to location, age, gender, and language, you can find prospects using a combination of the following demographic categories:

  • Education
  • Financial
  • Relationship status
  • Financials
  • Work (employer, job title, industry)
  • Home type
  • Ethnicity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Life events
  • Political affiliation

Between this robust suite of audience options and the equally expansive interest and behavioral categories, finding the prospects you’re looking for is a cinch. Speaking of, don’t sleep on the B2B category within “Behaviors” targeting; it allows you to use company size, industry, and seniority to put your ads in front of the right people. This will allow you to get your ads in front of decision makers, saving your budget for prospects with the power to pull the trigger.

 facebook ads b2b behavioral targeting

While the CMO at NounVerb might not have known she needed your product (and therefore wouldn’t have found your company through search), Facebook ads allow you to preemptively offer a solution instead of sitting back on your heels.

If you’d like to dig into audience creation a bit more, check out our infographic for a detailed breakdown of Facebook’s targeting options.

Custom Audiences

If you aren’t quite sold on core audiences (yet), Custom Audiences might be a better starting place for your Facebook Advertising experience.

Custom audiences can be created using five different methods, but the only three that you should focus on as a B2B marketer are those based on a customer file (email addresses you upload), website traffic (using the pixel), and Engagement (selectively).

 b2b facebook advertising custom audience creation

Creating audiences based on a customer file allows you to leverage your existing database to find your prospects while they’re commenting on their neighbor’s erratic lawncare habits. It uses your list of email addresses to find your existing leads on Facebook, allowing you to compliment your nurture programs with related offers. My favorite way to use Custom Audiences created from a customer file is to segment an existing email nurture list, isolating “Did Not Opens” or other inactive prospects, and hitting lukewarm (or ice cold) leads with ad creative they can’t help but click.

Website traffic audiences differ in that the audiences you can create are made up of people who have…. visited your website. You might not have their contact information, but that won’t stop you from leveraging on-site action driven by organic or paid traffic to serve prospects relevant ad creative on Facebook!

facebook custom ad creation based on site visitors to specific pages perfect for b2b advertisers with multiple offerings 

While time on site, site visits, and event completion can be used to create custom audiences made up of prospects familiar with your brand, the real value for B2B marketers is in the “People who visited specific web pages” option.

Say your company offers both products and services. You can use a Custom Audience to create an audience of people interested in your product but not your service, like this (and the inverse, too):

b2b facebook audience creation inclusion and exclusion 

This will stop you from showing prospects an offer that simply isn’t a fit, improving your chances of turning them into a customer.

Finally, don’t sleep on Custom Audiences based on lead ad engagement. Before this innovation was added, I’d have told you not to waste your budget on engagement audiences for B2B advertising (outside of lead form-specific audiences I still maintain this belief). That being said, if you’re using lead ads to generate net-new prospects or push content, Engagement audiences are clutch.

b2b advertisers can create custom audiences based on interactions with facebook lead ads 

As you can see, these Custom Audiences allow you to build new audiences based on actions taken involving lead ads.

If someone opened but didn’t submit the form, present them with a different, albeit comparable offer; perhaps they’d be more comfortable visiting your website instead of forking over valuable contact information via Facebook. On the other hand, you can use audiences made of prospects who did complete your lead ad form to serve lower funnel offers like product demos or free trials.

Using a combination of Core and Custom Audiences would be more than enough to help you find qualified B2B prospects, but Facebook has one more audience-creation trick up its sleeve: Lookalikes.

Lookalike Audiences

I saved the best for last.

While new prospects might not display the exact same characteristics and Facebook behavioral patterns as your existing customers, I’d wager a mirror image of the people currently paying you is a solid starting point for your lead acquisition. Lookalike Audiences allow you to create a brand-new audience of prospects whose demographic and psychographic makeup parallel your source audience.

“Source audience” can be any Facebook audience you’ve already created; to maximize the utility of Lookalikes, though, you should use high-value audiences like converters (based on the Facebook Pixel) or customer emails.

Once you’ve selected your source audience and a target location (country), Facebook will immediately generate an estimated audience size for your Lookalike:

lookalike audiences are the secret weapon for b2b facebook advertisers 

This new audience consists of the 1% of Facebook users in your chosen location that most closely resembles your source audience. Combined with the interest, behavioral, and demographic targeting I touched on earlier, you’re ready to hit brand new prospects with some compelling creative.

Time to start closing deals.

***

For many B2B marketers, Facebook represents the next frontier in online advertising. To learn more about Facebook advertising, check out some of our other resources, including…

… and dozens more on the WordStream Blog!

About the Author

Allen Finn is a content marketing specialist and the reigning fantasy football champion at WordStream. He enjoys couth menswear, dank eats, and the dulcet tones of the Wu-Tang Clan. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Google Shopping Proposal to EU, iOS11 Intelligent Ad Blocking, Getting Accurate Rankings: Weekly Forum Update

This week Google presents their proposal for assuging EU anti trust authorities.

iOS 11 launched to users with new intelligent tracking prevention.

Members discuss how to get accurate rank tracking data and what to do if you’re a well known brand but do not rank for your core short tail term.

Google May Open Up Ad Space to Competitors

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In order to meet compliance requirements of European Commission antitrust findings, Google offered a proposal to open up Google Shopping Ad System to allow rivals to bid against Google.

Webmaster World members questioned if this action was sufficient.

Glakes commented that, “I can’t help but to think that despite the offering, its overall value will be limited. One of the key benefits of advertising outside of Google are lower costs and a higher ROI. Allowing competition to come in to bid in bulk may be a ploy to inflate an already high CPC when such competitors would have to outbid Google to participate.”

isellstuff who owns a shopping comparison site noted their doubts regarding possible profit margins , “I own a price comparison website in the United States that has a bit of traffic. Google has been offering price comparison websites access to shopping ads for years. This is not a viable option for us due to slim profit margins. The problem being that Google controls the keywords with their shopping ads program. We can use negative keywords, but we can not bid on keywords.

This is a safe offer for Google. They know price comparison websites can not turn a profit via shopping ads. So they are essentially offering smoke and mirrors. They need to offer price comparison websites equal display time via text ads instead of hiding most, if not all text ads and only displaying the shopping ads when highly profitable keywords are used.

 

Apple blocking ads that follow users around web is ‘sabotage’ – “Intelligent tracking prevention” is here.

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The latest version of Apples Operating System, iOS11, which became available to users September 19 has a new feature, “intelligent tracking prevention”, that prevents ads that retarget.

Webmasterworld members were split on if this was a good and responsible action on Apples part or not. Members who did not agree with the action cited that relevant ads are more relevant for users and better for advertisers, since they’re less susceptible to banner blindness. These members also pointed out that there is an opt out option but did state that it is not intuitive and has to be repeated for every device.

Members who supported Apples move agreed with if for a variety of reasons. Some members referenced precidence with print; ergophobe stated, “where was it written that the manufacturers of the hardware that runs the internet have an obligation to make every user trackable? This was never the case with radio, TV, or print ads. Suddenly, the ad industry thinks it’s a God-given right on the internet? I’m sorry, but no.”. Ergophone added, ”
In my opinion, the ad industry broke the social contract at some point and now they are trying to glue it back together with things like the IABs LEAN campaign and such, but for me and many others, it’s just too late.”

Other memebers drew the comparision to how email clients developed methods to better control of email spam, after advertisers began to abuse of email marketing.

Accurate Keyword Position Analyzer

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A Webmaster World member who purchased a number of paid rank trackers is finding that many of them do not show the correct position. Other members state that for a variety of reasons, it is not possible to get fully accurate position data and that any insights provided are in aggregate and directional.

NickMNS comments, “There is no tool that can give you accurate picture, because there is no one keyword position (To be clear keyword position == position of you website in serp when a specific keyword is searched). Personalization, time of day, year, month, location, browsing history, and many more factors all influence what sites are returned for any given search. As such it is simply impossible for any tool to provide an accurate response.

Your best bet is to use search analytics in Google Search Console, it should provide an accurate result. But the result will be an “average” view of the results and for low traffic keywords it may not be representative.

Google moves to restrict ads for addiction queries

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This week it was announced that google will limit ads for addition related queries, including:

“drug detox”
“drug rehabilitation”
“drug treatment program”

While Google takest steps to identify ways to improve how they combat false ads, they will be showing a local pack at the top of search results in the meantime. One question around this issue is if this change will result in a shift of adspend in this sector from SEM to SEO while google figures out new advertising guidelines for addiction?

One Site Or 19?

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A consultant is working with a client that has 19 websites targeting specific locations, which have mostly duplicate content. In addition to getting the websites on SSL, Crea8asiteforum members recommend consolidating the sites to either subdomains or create branch pages on subdirectories. Additionally, members suggest using location and branch of schema to help boost SERP appearance.

Authoritative website & famous product can’t get onto SERP for product category

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Over on SEOchat, a member asks why their well known brand is not ranking for key phrases even though they are a top three brand in their niche. One item that was considered is if there is a user intent issue with this phrase in US English and another item considered was on page optimization for the phrase on the homepage.

The post Google Shopping Proposal to EU, iOS11 Intelligent Ad Blocking, Getting Accurate Rankings: Weekly Forum Update appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

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Weekend Favs September 23

Weekend Favs September 23 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Freshchat – Modern messaging software that your sales and customer engagement teams will love.
  • The Startup Club – A fun fiction book which will both engage your early reader with its story and teach them age-appropriate lessons about finances and starting a business.
  • AdEspresso University  – Master Facebook and Instagram advertising.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

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5 Can’t-Miss Sessions at #INBOUND17

It’s that time of year again, Inbounders!

Between September 25 and 28, marketers of all walks will descend on Boston for HubSpot’s annual celebration of “the human, helpful side of business.” This year’s INBOUND keynotes promise to be unbelievable (again), with speakers as wide ranging as former First Lady Michelle Obama and WWE star John Cena.

inbound 2017 wordstream sponsor 

In addition to the inspiration and insight shared by the bevy of engaging speakers, there are more than 300 breakout sessions (including one from our founder, Larry Kim).

While you might already have your week planned, we figured it couldn’t hurt to pull together a short list of paid search and social themed sessions. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the WordStream booth and say hello between sessions (more on that at the end of the post)!

#1: Data-Driven Remarketing: 3 Funnel Flipping Insights for Targeting Your Personas

Michael Bartholow is slated to deliver the only AdWords-centric session at Inbound, and it’s a must-attend.

inbound 2017 sales funnel tactics 

Getting prospects to click your ads once is hard enough; this makes remarketing part art part science, but 100% necessary if you want to maximize the value of AdWords. Michael will walk you through how to create custom audiences that target your site visitors with key messaging. Strategies for CVR-optimization through remarketing will include Customer Match, Custom Audience Segments and RLSA.

They’re calling this one a high-level session, so have your pen and paper ready.

Data-Driven Remarketing: 3 Funnel Flipping Insights for Targeting Your Personas

#2: How to Win at B2B Facebook Marketing

B2B Facebook marketing looks to be a tough nut to crack. Even if you’re skilled in the ways of audience creation, organic presence, and advertising, it can still take a lot of work to convince clients that Facebook is a viable advertising channel. Michael Hard, owner of Aquaspresso, will present “a step by step approach on how all B2B can start using Facebook effectively to generate leads and sales for their business.”

inbound 2017 breakout session facebook ads 

Whether you’re in-house or work at an agency, this could be a great way to pick up tips on selling your boss or client on a new strategy (note that there will be an encore of this session: there’s no excuse not to check it out).

How to Win at B2B Facebook Marketing

#3: The Top 10 Facebook and Twitter Content Promotion Hacks of 2017

The man needs no introduction.

Larry will present 10 ways you can amplify your reach on Facebook without spending an arm and a leg. With a combination of ingenious audience-creation insights and content promotion tactics, he’ll help your SMB or agency ball on a budget.

inbound 2017 larry kim breakout session 

The best part? Every hack makes use of some feature added to Facebook within the last year. Expect actionable advice and unicorns for days (this one’s got an encore scheduled as well)

The Top 10 Facebook and Twitter Content Promotion Hacks of 2017

#4: What I’ve Learned About Paid Ads from Spending Millions on Facebook

While you might not have millions to spend of Facebook advertising, you can learn a ton from the folks who can. Take advantage of this opportunity to hear from a veteran who has spent more than $50 million on behalf of Inbound’s organizer, HubSpot.

inbound 2017 facebook big spender breakout 

Paid Acquisition manager Rex Gleb will dish on what’s worked (and, more importantly, what hasn’t), arming attendees with enough knowledge to leave his session ready to make the world’s most popular social network sing.

What I’ve Learned About Paid Ads from Spending Millions on Facebook

#5: Get More Leads from Content with Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook’s Louis Moynihan and HubSpot’s Lars Osterberg will be speaking about something near and dear to my heart: Facebook lead ads.

inbound 2017 facebook lead ads breakout 

While it seems the primary focus of this breakout session will be to highlight HubSpot’s new-ish Facebook integration, it won’t hurt to hear about lead ads straight from the horse’s mouth. If you’re struggling to increase lead quality and improve ROI with Facebook ads, this session is for you.

Get More Leads from Content with Facebook Lead Ads

Where to Find WordStream at Inbound

If you’re looking to improves your AdWords account, get started with Facebook ads, or simply say hello, just look for the WordStream logo near the center lounge.

A small army of WordStreamers wearing great shirts will be at booth S22 ready and waiting to share insights talk PPC.

wordstream booth s22 inbound 2017 

And if you’re looking for something to do in the Seaport after your first full day at Inbound…

Tuesday Happy Hour at Papagayo

Love networking with fellow marketers and sipping margaritas? Let us buy you a drink.

wordstream event inbound 2017 papagayo 

WordStream, G2Crowd, & SnapApp are sponsoring a FIESTA for attendees on Tuesday, 9/26 at 6:30 PM. 

Papagayo is just a short walk from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (the address is 282 Summer Street). If you plan to attend, please register here!

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Marketing Materials – The First Rung on the Sales Ladder

Marketing Materials – The First Rung on the Sales Ladder written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

There can be a lot of motives when it comes to marketing.

Some campaigns are created to increase brand awareness. Some are created to generate leads. And some are created to generate direct sales.

Despite the original motive of the marketing campaign, in the long run, there is only one end game — more conversions.

No matter what each business classes as a conversion, that conversion is the reason why millions are spent on marketing each and every week across the globe.

But what marketing materials actually work?

Engagement

Each day hundreds of marketing campaigns are thrust in front of us.

Open a newspaper and there’s an ad for a new mattress. Load up your laptop and there’s an ad for some trainers you at last week. Look out the window and there’s a billboard for the latest teeth whitening product.

Everywhere we look there’s marketing, much of which we won’t notice. All of this marketing that goes unnoticed is either not very good or is poorly targeted.

The first step of any good marketing campaign is engagement. If you don’t get the right things in front of the right people then how can you ever expect them to convert?

In today’s society, there are of course many ways that you can reach people with your marketing.

A spokesperson for the digital marketing agency, Panoptic Media, said: “The fact that it’s now possible to reach anybody in the world with our marketing efforts is an incredible thing. Digital campaigns can be as targeted or as broad and diverse as we like, and from a marketers perspective this opens up many doors for us and our clients.”

But what about marketing that doesn’t happen on the internet?

Many people will have you believe that offline marketing is a dying art, but that’s not the whole story.

There are still many ways in which marketers or business owners can utilize ‘old-school’ marketing.

Take event marketing, for example. There is still a lot of value in building relationships on a face-to-face level, and there are marketing materials that can help with this.

For example, a recent study by digital print experts Purely Digital showed that people are far more likely to engage with marketing materials such as leaflets and scratch cards than a wristband or sticker.

User experience

Having managed to get the initial engagement it’s then crucial to provide a high-quality user experience. If the marketing material (no matter what it is) proves a challenge for the user then anybody who initially engages will soon lose interest, which is a potential opportunity lost.

User experience is something that has become more and more important with the evolution of technology.

There are now many more options out there for each individual. If you engage with a piece of marketing and it’s difficult to interpret or find what you’re looking for then you have the option to move on — and this is extremely true online.

Google prioritizing UX

Nowadays Google is placing a great deal of importance on UX. It used to be the case that with a few high-quality links and some well-written meta and title tags you’d be able to earn yourself a reasonable standing in the SERPs.

Increased competition has meant that this is no more.

A website needs to provide the user with an experience that makes people want to come back. What happens when a user is actually on a site now plays a big role in how Goole perceives that site.

The Conversion

As mentioned, the user experience is key. But it’s also important that businesses don’t forget the initial reasoning behind their marketing campaigns — the conversion.

Getting the conversion from a marketing campaign links in heavily with the user experience.

A good marketer will be able to plan a user experience and journey that leaves the conversion an inevitability.

For the best in the business, leaving things to chance is not an option. Whether it’s a marketing campaign that begins with putting flyers through doors or a highly specific remarketing campaign online there are certain things that can be done to boost conversion rates across the board.

One of the major things that can lead to high conversion rates is ensuring that your marketing targets the right people.

Panoptic Media added: “One of the major problems we often see when people come to us is that they aren’t sure who they’re targeting, or who they should be targeting.

“It’s often the case that people target too wide an audience. It’s always that case that if you’re trying to market to everybody, then you’re actually marketing to nobody.”

When it comes to selecting marketing materials it’s not a case of one or the other.

A good marketing campaign should take somebody on a journey. And whether that journey incorporates one, two or much more different marketing materials and avenues, as long as the user gets what they’re expecting at the stage of initial engagement then there’s no reason that you won’t get the conversion.


Aaron WattsAbout the Author

Aaron Watts is an Outreach Executive who works for Sheffield based Digital Marketing Agency Ignition Search. He is extremely focused and passionate about boosting SERP rankings and driving good quality traffic to and websites. “Good traffic is traffic that interacts and subsequently converts”.

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Smarter Outreach: 3 Google Chrome Extensions to See Who is Behind Each Email

Today’s social networking world is overwhelming: You meet people online, talk to them, lose them for a month or two, then find them again. There should be better ways to keep up than trying to remember everything!

Luckily, apps are popping up that allows for smarter outreach, by putting a social dashboard inside your inbox. These three helpful tools work by giving you information on each contact, effectively establishing your own little social network.

If you have been looking for a more social way to interact with your contacts, or just don’t always remember names without faces attached, check these programs out.

1. FullContact for Gmail

FullContact for Gmail

FullContact for Gmail has been named the best alternative to Rapportive after the latter became Linkedin’s Sales Navigator (as discussed below, Sales Navigator is still a useful Google Chrome extension if you spend a lot of time on Linkedin). FullContact for Gmail is an awesome tool allowing you to see social profiles, job titles, tags, and notes for each of your Gmail contact. View recent tweets and company information without leaving your inbox.

If you subscribe to FullContact for Teams ($9.99 /Month with a free trial available), you can use the extension to share contacts with team members, add notes for individual contacts, apply collaborative tags.

The tool is one of the highest-sated extensions currently in Google Chrome web store.


2. Discoverly

Integrate your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn emails inside of your inbox, and that is just a start. Discoverly is all about creating a more interactive email experience, not only adding that element to the email itself but also putting interactive live feeds within your range of sight.

They also have security icons, allowing you to confirm the source of emails and quickly catch phishers posing as official parties. It works with Gmail, Yahoo and Outbox email clients, and you can download it for free.


3. Linkedin Sales Navigator for Gmail

Formerly known as Rapportive, this Gmail client is the first program I ever came across. Since it became Linkedin Sales Navigator, it has lost some of its initial appeal (the product had shifted away from supporting other social networks) but it still remains a useful extension, especially if you spend a lot of time and effort building your Linkedin connections. It also makes sense if you already have Sales Navigator subscription which is required in order to use this product.

This is a free tool, and you simply add it to Gmail. It can be customized, but the features are pretty straight forward.


What Do Do With This Info?

Alright, so you can get all these social and demographic tidbits about your contacts. What exactly are you supposed to do with all this data once you have it? Knowing things like their social activity, general location and work info is great, because it lets you better target the conversation.

Do they live in the same city as you? Invite them out to lunch for some one on one networking. See that they are going to be attending a conference you are? Set up a meeting during it to get face time with people you normally wouldn’t. Just finding contacts at companies you want to be affiliated with can be a major benefit.

At the very least, these tools can be a great way to organize your contacts, a list that can get very long and hard to keep track of.


Conclusion

Anyone can see a real change in their engagement and outreach with one of these tools. They are quick, easy to use, and (mostly) free. Not to mention a fun way to keep up with social media in your personal life.

Do you know of any good outreach tools for email clients? Have you been using one not on this list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to include a link!

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8 Popular Landing Page Designs: Which Types Work Best?

“I told you guys there would be blood, sweat, tears. I told you guys he was a hell of a fighter standing up — kinda shocked me.”

That quote comes from Floyd Mayweather, following his recent bout with Conor McGregor. Mayweather walked away from the fight with at least $100 million, while McGregor pocketed a mere $30 million.

Landing page designs Mayweather McGregor fight

Image via Esther Lin/Showtime

All kidding aside, the idea came to me: Designers and marketers are always debating what types of landing pages work best. Minimalist design? How much copy? Why not square landing page designs off in a series of fights?

So check out eight popular landing page design types, their pros and cons, how they compare, and what might happen if they duked it out in a ring.

Short-Form Landing Pages Vs. Long-Form Landing Pages

Tired of the never-ending debate between these two? I am. So, I’m putting the tension between these landing page types to rest. Once and for all.

Short-form landing pages work better for minor asks. That usually means an email address or small purchase.

For example, Michael Aagard found a Swedish gym chain boosted sales 11% with a shorter landing page:

Landing page designs A/B test example 

Image via ConversionXL

Note: 249 Swedish Krona equals about $31.

So when short-form and long-form landing pages square off, short-form pages win with smaller asks. However, depending on what you sell, you may not know what “small” means to your market. Test if you’re not sure.

Short-form delivers a surprisingly painful blow to the chest early into the match.

Conversion Rate Experts puts long-form landing pages to the forefront, as they helped Moz (then SEOmoz) generate an additional $1 million in yearly revenue with a long-form landing page.

To make it happen, they talked with paying Moz subscribers, free trial members, and paying members who canceled. They also spoke with Rand Fishkin, who explained how he sold in person with ease.

Eventually, they came up with a landing page, oh, about seven times or so longer than the original:

Landing page designs Moz longform landing page example 

Image via Conversion Rate Experts

…And long-form landing pages pop right back with an equally wicked counterpunch. In this case, the offer is software, which usually requires more commitment from the buyer, so they might want more information before making a decision. This is where longer landing pages shine.

Note that cost is not the only variable here. Sometimes even a free offer requires more context. WordStream tested short and long versions of the landing page for its AdWords Grader and found that the long version performed much better. This is a free tool, but in this case, prospects wanted more information before connecting their AdWords accounts – so the page is built out with plenty of info to build trust (like testimonials).

This harkens back to an important lesson from the legendary business book Built to Last by Jim Collins and his research team. The book compiles years of research that shows what companies who survive the test of time do versus those who fade into obscurity.

Great companies reject what was called the “Tyranny of the OR.” Instead, they embrace the “Genius of the AND,” which refers to their ability to incorporate two extreme dimensions into their operations simultaneously.

And this situation certainly demonstrates how that principle applies to short- and long-form landing pages. Vary the length of your landing page depending on the cost and/or complexity of your offer. (And always test.)

Video Landing Pages Vs. Static Landing Pages

What marketer doesn’t love those cool, auto-playing video backgrounds? By the way, here’s 50 for you to check out.

Hey, I love them too. But videos don’t make everyone happy.

In particular, B2B buyers do not care for video backgrounds. The 2015 B2B Web Usability Report found 33% say “automatic audio/video” is the most common reason they leave a website:

Landing page designs reasons why people leave websites 

Image via KoMarketing (PDF)

The same report later details how B2B buyers don’t like websites loaded with distractions. They want to focus, research, and learn so they can make a valuable business decision.

But you’ll notice, that doesn’t mean they don’t like video at all. The report didn’t include any data on video that doesn’t play automatically. Since it specifically mentions “video that plays automatically,” it’s safe to assume B2B buyers don’t mind video – as long as they have controls.

Automatically playing video backgrounds also don’t work when you need to make a complex sale, Unbounce found. Again, they distract. Specifically, they keep visitors from reading your above-the-fold messaging.

Shockingly, video backgrounds take a powerful blow between the eyes to begin the match.

So…do video backgrounds ever work?

Yes.

That same post from Unbounce found they do well when you want to communicate a certain feeling. For example, you want to invite people to a conference, performing arts event, or restaurant.

And what about when you have video that only plays with controls? It raises conversions dramatically.

Data from Kissmetrics reports:

  • Organizational housewares retailer Stacks And Stacks found consumers who watched video were 144% more likely to buy than those who didn’t.
  • Advance Auto Parts found instructional and how-to videos led to visitors staying on-site twice as long and visiting twice as many pages as those who didn’t watch videos.

Video lands a flurry of quick jabs.

But what about plain ol’ static web pages? Why would you use those, without any video at all?

LeadPages published a test run by Gary and James Michaels from StrategicShape.com  to find out. The offer was a song download, and one version of the landing page included the music video of the song:

Landing page designs split test example video landing page 

Image via LeadPages

At the conclusion of the test, the version without the video outperformed the version with video by 23.84%.

Why? A few possibilities:

  1. The version without the video created more mystery
  2. The removal of the video made the page shorter and simpler
  3. The music video wasn’t motivating enough to win more conversions

You always have to test. But as above, consider using video landing pages (ideally, not auto-playing video) to provide context for products and to form an emotional connection with your prospects.

Flat Design Vs. Old-School Landing Pages

Flat landing page design, which you may also call “minimalist” or “modern” design, is the trend nowadays.

But it’s not a guaranteed approach. And some marketers generate astounding success with the old-school, hypey, infomercial-type landing page.

One example of the latter comes from nationally renowned copywriter Bob Bly:

Landing page designs bad page example 

Image via Bob Bly

Ick! Doesn’t it make the marketer in you cringe? Or maybe you suddenly feel sick…

But here’s the thing: Bob attests to making more than $600,000 per year as a copywriter. And all his landing pages have this old-school, infomercial-looking approach. He certainly wouldn’t consistently use it if he found a different approach that works better.

He may use this approach because he sells to current and aspiring copywriters. They work similarly to a B2C audience.

They don’t need a gorgeous design. He has one opportunity to make the sale. So, he has to use an attention-getting headline, and clear copy that commands 100% focus on the message. Further down the page, he describes in explicit detail what you get, asks for your order three times, and offers several dozen testimonials.

It’s clear he wants you to buy now.

And Bob’s not the only master marketer who does this. Leading email marketer Ben Settle uses a similar approach to sell his “Email Players” course that teaches you how to sell through email (at $97 per month, no less):

Landing page designs bad page example 

Image via Ben Settle

Amazing! The old-school, infomercial approach knocks flat design to the mat in the beginning of the first round.

Can modern flat design get up and come back?

It can. And does.

Just for reference, a prototypical flat landing page looks something like this:

 Landing page designs flat landing page example

Image via Webydo

You notice the bright colors, minimalistic text, large amount of white space, and lack of 2D objects trying to appear 3D.

Nice. Simple. Clean. Not pushy or salesy at all.

When do flat landing page designs make sense?

For starters, web users see them all the time. That means you meet your visitors’ expectations immediately. You won’t baffle them somewhat at first, like you might with an old-school approach.

Flat design doesn’t encourage you to use a high-pressure, order-now-or-its-gone-forever sales approach. It’s a more natural fit with today’s focus on earning trust and building relationships.

So flat design pulls itself off the mat and hammers its way back into the fight.

Again, you have to consider your audience (hip millennials? Or baby boomers?) and possibly test both approaches.

Homepage Vs. Lead Capture (AKA “Squeeze”) Page

Please, please, please… do yourself a favor and never ever, under any circumstances, use your homepage as a landing page for your marketing campaign.

Yes, visitors land on your homepage. And yes, it’s the most visited page on your website.

But you don’t use a single, specific campaign to drive traffic to your home page. Instead, your home page gets traffic from many sources, so the page needs to be flexible to address a range of possible visitor needs. This usually means that there are multiple calls to action (CTAs), giving the visitor options.

Let’s take a look at some homepage examples from leading companies, because you know they’ve done extensive testing to optimize their homepage conversion rates:

HubSpot

Landing page designs HubSpot squeeze page example 

HubSpot has three CTAs above-the-fold. Two direct you to use their platform. One sends you to a four-day live video event.

Three other CTAs come later on the page. Each describes a leading feature of HubSpot, and the benefits of those features.

A final CTA comes at the end of the page. And it again directs you to start using their software.

That’s a total of 6(!) CTAs.

Brian Dean, Backlinko

 Landing page designs Backlinko example

Brian Dean runs a much different business type than multibillion-dollar HubSpot.

He uses his personal brand to do one thing: grow his list. I’m not sure of the exact size. But it’s at least 100,000, and I believe several times that size. That makes it one of the largest lists in his niche (SEO).

If you’re on his list, like me, you know he sells courses.

So, he uses an approach with just a single CTA that asks you to join his list.

Unbounce

Landing page designs Unbounce example 

Unbounce has a unique approach. One I admittedly haven’t seen on a homepage anywhere else.

They have two clear CTAs above-the-fold. However, they don’t put the obvious one under the main marketing message.

Rather, it’s clear they want you to sign up for a free trial because that’s the more noticeable of the two buttons.

The overall approach is sensible. They allow visitors who aren’t ready for a free trial to get to know Unbounce better, and why they’d like to use it, before starting a free trial. And for those who know they’re ready, they can do that now too.

Why they don’t switch the two CTAs so the free trial button is in the center of the screen…I don’t know. But testing must have revealed this approach results in more or higher-quality conversions.

By the way, the whole page has three CTAs, with the final one showing you the pricing plans.

Conversion XL

 Landing page designs ConversionXL example

Conversion XL has a unique approach on their homepage too. With four CTAs above the fold, they have the most of any homepage you’ve seen so far.

Plus, not a single one uses a button. They’re all links. Two more CTAs follow later on down the page, asking you to subscribe to their newsletter and see the upcoming courses.

That’s a total of six CTAs on the homepage.

While the approaches vary, these homepages:

  • Differentiate the business from the competition
  • Share the top benefits available
  • Have varying asks of different sizes

…Homepages come out swinging and draw first blood.

But now, compare homepages to squeeze pages. With these, you create a specific campaign to drive a precisely defined customer to a landing page with a single ask.

You know all your traffic sources, so you can deliver the same targeted messaging to each visitor.

If you’re B2C, you collect contact information so you can continue to build your relationship and list. In B2B, squeeze pages can be used to build lists. But more commonly, they get used to qualify the lead so they can be handed over to sales (or not).

Brian Dean’s homepage actually works well as a squeeze page because that’s the only CTA. Check out this squeeze page to learn a little more:

 Landing page designs GQ magazine example

Image via Instapage

Big brands many times do an awful job in their online marketing. But GQ is not one of them. This squeeze page works because it:

  • Asks for minimal information – just an email – which makes signing up quick and painless
  • Slips in a little humor, which goes a long way
  • Has a spot-on marketing message men can relate to
  • Uses Zach Galifianakis’ star power
  • Shows an abundantly obvious CTA button

And compare that to this B2B lead capture page by Salesforce:

Landing page designs Salesforce example 

Image via Salesforce

Clearly, with the amount of information they require to get the freebie (a white paper), Salesforce wants to qualify leads. If the B2B buyer doesn’t have time to fill out the form, then they likely won’t make a good customer later on anyway.

Using the information entered, sales can make educated decisions on how to follow-up with the lead next.

While the homepages drew first blood, squeeze pages crack them square in the nose in return. Both then counterpunch each other at exactly the same moment, falling to the mat for a knockout at precisely the same time.

Your Landing Page Design Should Consider Your Goals and Your Sales Cycle

Four ties (“It depends”)? Maybe that’s not the drama you hoped for.

But it’s the truth about landing page designs. No single approach is ALWAYS “better” than any other. Each works better in different circumstances.

You have to choose the right approach based on your business goals, the preferences of your market, and your visitors’ stage in the sales cycle.

To discover those, you have to ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you really want your visitors to do?
  • What are they thinking the moment they hit your landing page?
  • What are your audience’s psychographics?
  • What step did they previously take, before hitting the page?

How can you get answers to these questions if you don’t already know?

  • Can you examine competitor landing pages for clues?
  • Could you survey or call customers?

Look, creating a high-converting landing page isn’t easy. But it does boil down to simply testing and retesting approaches until you’re happy with your conversion rate.

For now, you’re armed with some of the leading types of landing pages, and you can figure out which design makes most sense for you.

About the author

As a freelance copywriter, Dan Stelter crafts persuasive lead-generating content for B2B software, SaaS, and service companies, earning him the moniker “The B2B Lead Gen Guy.” When you don’t find Dan helping B2Bs swipe more market share from competitors, you will find him reliving the good ol’ days of The Simpsons.

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