In short, a lot of American adults with discretionary income spend a lot of time on Instagram, so you should probably pop in and say hi.
Okay, so what should you do on Instagram?
Just like high school math – show your work! And make it personable whenever you can. Here are a few suggestions.
If your business is to clean, remodel, or in some other way service homes, take a picture or video of the job. You could show before and after scenes, or capture your team working right in the middle of the project.
If you can get the homeowners in your photo or video, even better! This humanizes your business, and makes others more likely to reach out, too.
If you’re in staffing or recruiting, share photos and videos of your client, a candidate, or both! A blurb about how you connected the right people with the right opportunities can go a long way, too.
If you’re an insurance agent, share photos of you shaking hands with clients, or videos of client testimonials.
Instagram users love posts that show real people doing good things. Whatever industry you’re in, I’m sure you’re doing something good. So share it!
These posts, along with using the right hashtags, will drive users to your business profile. Then you can add a simple call-to-action on your profile to prompt viewers to text you.
Step 6: Start receiving texts from your Instagram business profile.
Great! Now you can start receiving texts from your Instagram business profile. That means you can start driving more leads and other inbound communications.
There are just 2 things you’ll need to shore up this marketing channel.
First, you’ll need a good call-to-action in your profile bio to prompt people to text you. E.g. “Want a cleaner home? Text us for an estimate!” or “Need help finding your next opportunity? Text us to start the conversation.”
Second, you’ll need a way to handle these text conversations professionally. Text Request makes this easy. You can use your current business number, and there aren’t any contracts.
Advertising on Google is powerful, and today we’ll show you how to make your ads even more effective by adding text messaging to your Google Adwords ads.
Google currently owns about 79% of the global search market, and their advertising platform (Adwords) can help you be #1 in their search results without paying much.
In other words, a lot of people go to Google every day in search of answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Adwords makes sure your targets find you when they’re searching.
The best part about Adwords for today’s mobile-first consumers is that Adwords now supports texting, so viewers can text your business straight from the ad!
Adwords calls this feature a “message extension,” and below we’ll show you how to add message extensions to your ads, so you can start getting more leads through text. All you need is a way to handle incoming messages.
This is the message people will see after they text you from search results. You might say “Thanks for texting us! We’ll get back to you ASAP.” or something to that effect.
Note: People will only see this if they text you from a messaging app, not with standard SMS.
5. Confirm your number.
Google will text a confirmation code to the number you just entered.
Enter the code, and you’re good to start receiving text messages through your Google My Business Listing!
Here’s what it will look like (below). Searchers just click on Message or Send a message, and it opens a text addressed to your business.
Now you can start driving leads directly from organic search!
Note: When someone clicks on the Send a Message button, they’ll see a different number than the one you entered. Messages still come to you! Google just routes things this way so they can track how long it takes you to respond, which they display in search results.
The majority of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, and those mobile viewers prefer to text. Click-to-Text helps you meet customers where they are and improves the customer experience.
2. More Inbound Communication
People under 50 prefer texting over calls, emails, and other messaging apps. Click-to-Text lowers the barrier to entry for all of these people, increasing the amount of inbound communication you’ll get from your website.
For most businesses, that means more leads and an easier way to reach your audience when you need to.
Everything in Text Request is recorded. So when someone texts you, you always have a record of the person, their message, and the best way to reach them, even if no one on your team is currently available.
There are also 3 things to keep in mind when determining how successful your Click-to-Text button or link is.
1. Website Traffic
Click-to-Text does not bring new visitors to your website. It helps convert people who are already there.
If your website traffic is low, your inbound text volume will likely be low, too. You provide the traffic. We’ll help you start conversations.
If your number isn’t clearly visible – like, front and center on your home or contact pages – people might not realize they can text you. If they can’t see what you built, they won’t come.
You need to give viewers a clear-call-to-action. For example, “Click here to request pricing.”
If your number is placed ambiguously on your website, viewers won’t know what benefit it could bring them.
A Facebook business page also lets you get, display, and share reviews from clients, which are valuable in helping you get new clients.
Reason #3 a Facebook business page is valuable is that it simply makes you look more professional. It brings you more clout compared to those who don’t have one, and looking better than your competition goes a long way in small business marketing.
5. How many words and images should a blog post have?
Generally, longer posts (on any platform except email) tend to get more engagement. Posts with more images tend to get more engagement, too.
But that doesn’t mean you should write super long stories every time, or add 100 photos to every blog article. There’s always a limit.
For good, informative content, 800-1,500 words with an image thrown in every 200-300 words is great. If you’re presenting in-depth research, 2,000-2,500 words is a good range.
Posts around 800-1,200 words tend to get the most shares, while posts with about 2,500 words tend to rank highest in search results, so write what’s best for your overall strategy.
Keep in mind that word count should be your last consideration when creating content. You first and foremost need to add value to your targets, and then you need to keep their attention.
6. What tools do you recommend small businesses use to promote their posts?
Truthfully, you can promote your posts rather well without tools, just by sharing on various platforms. Although, tools like Social Jukebox or Hootsuite can help you automate this process.
You can create a bunch of posts all at once, and then schedule those posts to go out when your audience is most likely to engage with them. (Mid-morning and late evening tend to be good times.)
Two marketing directors. Two software-as-a-service startups. Way too much coffee, and a ton of helpful nuggets that apply to any digital marketing strategy. Click below to listen, or keep scrolling for the highlights.
1. Create happy, thriving customers to use as your foundation.
You have to build solid relationships with customers. Customer reviews, testimonials, case studies, white papers – these are crucial for boosting your marketing strategy and you overall business!
“I’m basically boys with most of our customers. That’s how much we’re talking with them well after they purchase.” – Jeremy Boudinet
To find success on a large scale, you have to first create it on the individual level. ~80% of a SaaS company’s customers (pre-$100k MRR) will be from referrals. You’ve got to create these thriving, happy customers who will bring others to you.
You’ve got to let them teach you how to build your product, and how to sell it. That’s how you start to build a lean, scalable SaaS marketing program that works.
Marketing is basically Sales’ wing man. One sets up the other for success.
Another way to look at it is that Sales and Marketing should be married to each other. Two become one and grow in unison.
The customer life cycle is just that – a cyle. Marketing hands off to sales who hands off to customer success, then marketing and product development use that information to get more leads and more customers, ad infinitum.
When every “department” in your startup is sending the same, coherent message throughout the cycle, you’ll begin to see a scalable SaaS marketing strategy emerge.
3. Create EPIC content that you’re proud to share.
“It’s not enough to just create content. If you’re going to create a blog post, make it a freakin’ epic blog post.” – Jeremy Boudinet
Something like 200,000 pieces of content are uploaded to the internet every minute of every day. Most all of that content is mediocre at best. You need to create content that distinguishes you from that mediocrity!
Create content that you’re proud to share. Content that you would want to look back on and reference. Epic content is crucial for a scalable SaaS marketing strategy.
4. There are so many free and cheap tools out there. Use them.
You can’t do everything all by yourself. There’s so much out there ready to help you!
Maybe it’s a pop-up to capture leads. Maybe it’s a content sharing widget, or a screen sharing service.
Whatever it is, you can probably find a free or cheap tool to help you. Bit.ly is good for creating short links. SumoMe is good for a suite of things. Hootsuite for social media. Exit Monitor for email subscriptions.
Whatever you need is available. You just need to figure out what it is you need, and then go find it.
5. Get interactive and collaborative.
“Some of the best content is that which gets other brands and people involved.” – Jeremy Boudinet
Jeremy and Ambition have done “March SaaSness” in place of March Madness. They hosted a bracket-style tournament for SaaS companies competing against each other for the most votes to find out who’s #1.
It worked phenomenally! So well that they did it a second year. About half of the brands got heavily involved in promoting tournament for Ambition, and traffic skyrocketed!
We (Text Request) have done crowd sourced “experts’ tips” pieces to get others sharing our content, following the same premise. That’s worked well, too. Basically, those who collaborate win.
If you’re new to working with a digital agency, you absolutely need to hear these tips! Click below to listen to the podcast, or keep scrolling for the highlights.
1. How often should you revamp your website?
If you’re going to a digital agency and aren’t sure where to begin, choose your website. The internet levels the playing field between large, national brands and local small businesses. Your website is where it all starts.
Your website is your most important digital asset. Plus, it needs to be updated about every 2-3 years anyway, so it’s hard to go wrong there.
Depending on your needs, which can vary widely, a suitable website could cost you anywhere from $25/mo to a lump sum of $25,000. It’s that valuable to your business.
2. Where should your digital agency market your business?
There’s an endless sea of options, but Facebook and Google tend to provide the top 2 best ROIs for small businesses of any digital platform. Those are great places to be, to test, to find your targets.
It might take a bit – maybe a few months – to find your targets and optimize accordingly, but both places tend to pay off very well.
3. How transparent is your digital agency?
Transparency is huge with any digital agency. If they’ll say you got 5,000 clicks from a campaign, but won’t tell you how poor your conversion rate was, that should be a red flag.
You need to ask your digital agency where conversions are happening, where they’re not, and why. If they aren’t willing to tell you everything, you probably want to look for someone better.
4. What’s your competition doing?
Another thing you need to pay attention to is what your competition is doing. You can learn from them. On the other hand, being unique is key. So you really need to focus on what your competition isn’t doing.
Where aren’t they marketing? What relevant contentaren’t they creating? You need to create something valuable and unique to drive traffic to your website. Your digital agency should be able to help you do this.
5. You don’t own them.
When working with a digital agency, it’s important to remember that you’re hiring them to do something you can’t. You do not control them or own them.
Your business and your digital agency work hand in hand to accomplish your goals. If the two of you can’t work together well, you’ll both want to look for someone else.
If we’re honest, all you care about is the 11 points. So let’s jump into these digital marketing basics you need to eat and breathe.
1. It’s all bout providing value.
Nobody wants to be sold to, but everybody wants to learn.
Everyone is searching for answers to their questions, and they’re looking for brands to provide those answers. The digital marketing needed to meet this demand is different from traditional marketing, and here’s why.
In traditional marketing, every billboard, commercial, and strategy says the same thing: We’re great, buy our product.
Whether it was a consumer product or a fee-based service, the marketing has always been a sales pitch. That doesn’t work for most brands these days. Consumers don’t remember the pitch, they remember value.
Consumers don’t remember the pitch, they remember value. (Tweet this!)
Taco Bell is one of the few brands winning in the digital marketing landscape with straight pitch. What they’ve been doing is rather impressive. But they’re one of the few. The standards have shifted.
Ads are the #1 way that websites and brands monetize their digital presence. Consumers understand this, and they’re sick of it!
Consumers want to be in control of when they’re pitched, where it happens, and who’s doing it. That means brands have to be able to advertise without it looking like they’re advertising. How does that happen? Through content.
Content is your advertising campaign hidden under valuable information.
You provide answers to questions your targets are asking. They reward you (immediately or over time) by giving you more of their attention and, if you play your cards right, their dollars.
Interesting, helpful content is how you develop customers and build brand loyalty in today’s digital marketing landscape. It’s all about providing value.
2. Followers mean nothing if they don’t do something.
Having a large following is good for one thing: inflating the ego.
The sheer number displayed on your profile or subscriber list doesn’t mean anything if those people aren’t bringing you value in some way.
If you have 100,000 Facebook followers, but only 100 people click on a link you post, your “followers” aren’t doing anything for you. What does matter is having consumers who actively engage with you.
Followers are not the end goal. Conversions are. (Tweet this!)
Followers are not the end goal. Conversions are. If you have 5,000 total followers, but 3,000 of them will engage with anything you post, you’re doing very well.
The main purpose for anyone to have followers is to grow the number of those who will (regularly) convert into something for your brand. That could mean a lot of things, but every possible option involves those followers doing something.
If you’re a blog, you need followers to regularly provide you with traffic. As a media company, you need followers to share your media. For ecommerce, you need repeat buyers. If you’re a SaaS company, you need people to use and recommend your product.
Followers look great on paper, but if they’re not actively engaging with you, they’re meaningless.
3. Social media is not a few websites.
Social media is the current state of the internet. It’s not just a few websites like Facebook, Vine (RIP), Twitter, and the like.
Today’s media is inherently social. Any link on the internet can be shared on just about any website. If you’re involved in any forum, website, or anything else online, you’re connecting and interacting with others. You’re being social.
As a digital marketing professional, this means that everywhere you go is a chance to make yourself and your brand look better.
Every link you share, every comment you post, somebody is watching you. Make it worthwhile.
4. Email can have an incredible ROI, but you need the right list.
According to Salesforce, every dollar spent on email marketing yields about $45. I’ll take those numbers any day!
The stickler, though, is that you need qualified leads, and a lot of them. Here’s what every digital marketing professional needs in an email list.
You can’t just spam people and expect to get anything in return, except unsubscribes. (Tweet this!)
You can’t just spam people and expect to get anything in return, except unsubscribes. You need qualified leads. Not some trade-show sign-up sheet gimmick for a chance at a free prize, but people who are actually, genuinely interested in the value you provide.
People who’ve started a free trial, contacted you directly, bought from you before, or downloaded some piece of content are probably all good choices.
Even if you get 1,000 of these precious leads, you still have to keep your efforts up. A good email list will lose about ~20% of its contacts a year, which means you’ve got to keep replenishing the ranks.
Assuming you can keep this up, benchmark data shows you should be able to get a 33% email open rate with a 4% click-through rate.
5. Your targets aren’t just in one place.
How many different websites do you visit in a day? If you’re like most, you view ~88 web pages on maybe 10 different websites every day.
Plus, those numbers are from 2010 (still no update), and we know internet usage has increased significantly since then. Smartphones hadn’t even overtaken feature phones yet!
With all this change – with the fact that people now spend 8-10 hours a day on media – do you really think you can get away with only being in one place? If you have zero competitors, maybe.
The goal of being anywhere online is to get conversions, right? As an end goal, engagement doesn’t matter. Likes, followers, comments, shares – none of it matters unless people convert. Where do your targets convert? I guarantee there’s more than one place.
Maybe one place works best, easiest, and cheapest. But there are other places to get conversions and market share. People have their favorite places to go, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only place they go.
It’s your job to find out everywhere your targets are. Then see what works best at each stage of your business.
6. It can always be better.
There’s always an easier way to do something, and there’s always a way to optimize your digital marketing campaigns.
When it comes to your product, your website, and your landing pages, there is always a way to make it easier. Which is important, because the user experience is everything!
If you have the option to make your product easier to use, or to add a feature that will make users’ lives easier, you’re an idiot not to do it.
Customers care so little about what actually makes the best company or product. (Tweet this!)
Speed and simplicity are crucial. Customers care so little about what actually makes the best company or product. They care about solving their problem fast.
They want the simplest thing that will work really well. For your website specifically, there’s always going to be a way to make the process easier. To get the right information in prospects’ minds quicker. To help them complete their goals faster.
If you’re not continually testing and improving, someone else will be, and they’ll take all your leads away from you. Which means they’ll eventually take all your customers away from you.
On the advertising side of things, A/B testing is your oxygen. That’s what keeps everything growing.
There’s always a way to make a campaign better, to improve conversions, to get more people talking about you. But you’ll never know what to change or improve if you’re not testing.
7. Omnichannel doesn’t mean copy and pasting the same thing everywhere.
Omnichannel is about continuity. It’s about providing a seamless experience for users across devices and platforms. Here’s the common misconception.
People often think of omnichannel as meaning “be everywhere.” That’s not true. It means extending the customer experience and sales cycle. Here’s what that means.
If I go to your website and look at a particular product, I should then see an advertisement for that product in my Facebook or Instagram feed. I should get an email with a coupon for that product, or recommendations relating to it.
If I have a conversation with your brand via your website’s live chat, that interest I’ve shown should appear in other places, too. If I’ve inquired about X, I should see sponsored content somewhere else providing value around that topic.
Every online user has an ID attached to them and their behaviors. Essentially, you can target these consumers across devices and websites. And you should.
Omnichannel is big for digital marketing for two reasons. One, it takes multiple touch points to close a sale. By extending the customer experience outside of just your website, you create far more touch points. This also makes every unique user more valuable to you.
Two, it provides a much better customer experience! It’s simpler for people to work with you, but you’re out there placing those reminders in front of them.
An omnichannel strategy could be as complicated as retargeting on various platforms with various advertisers. It could also be as simple as letting people access their accounts/shopping carts from a computer and a mobile device interchangeably.
8. Facebook and Google are in bed together.
Google controls the search engine landscape. Facebook controls the world of social networking. Together, they decide our fate in digital marketing.
Are they part of the same umbrella? No. But they’re working together all the time to share data and make the digital world – in their opinion – a better place.
What this means for you and me is that we need to appeal specifically to these two leviathans.
Discerning how to get shares and any kind of virality going on Facebook will directly benefit you in Google search results. Conversely, optimizing your content for Google SEO will help you get onto Facebook more.
This is the digital marketing game you’re playing whether you realize it or not. It’s there for you to manipulate, and it’s your job to do just that.
9. Consumers have an insatiable need for speed.
40% of viewers leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s unreal! Except it’s actually happening.
What’s more, the average viewer spends 10-15 seconds on any given page. Consumers are quick, and they want answers fast.
Customer engagement is such a big deal because it’s so difficult to claim! You’ve got 10-15 seconds worth of consumer attention with which to give them both exactly what they’re looking for, and a reason to stick to stick around. A small feat by no means.
When people come to you, it’s because they’re looking for answers. They’re looking for solutions to their problems and questions. How quickly can you provide?
You need to be checking how quickly your pages load, and how simple it is for customers to go from A-B. There’s always a way to make things easier, and to make them better. That’s what consumers want, and they want it fast.
Plus, nearly every smartphone owner uses their device somewhere during the purchase process. Most people actually look up products on their phones while they’re standing in a physical store! This isn’t just some trend! Mobile is a staple of consumer behavior.
Mobile is where consumers live, which means you need to live there, too. (Tweet this!)
Mobile is where consumers live, which means you need to live there, too. Your digital marketing efforts need to reflect these consumer behaviors. You have to include mobile in what you’re doing, and in many cases you need to place it ahead of desktop!
11. Organic is dead unless you’re really creative.
Note: This is about social media in particular, not Google search and SEO. SEO is only getting more powerful.
“Anyone can achieve more with a proper $500 investment than a brand with 90 million fans organically.” They say this, because they get better results from putting $500 behind a targeted post instead of just leaving it up to their 90 million fans to find.
Follower counts mean less and less each month. Social algorithms have cut organic reach to 10% or less. What’s important is getting in front of your targets. It’s usually easier to do this with a few bucks, unless you’re really creative.
A “hit” of a campaign will spread itself. My current favorite brand blowing it out of the water is (ironically) Organic Valley. Their Save the Bros and Pop-up Coffee Shop campaigns are fantastic!
These campaigns make you want to share them with your friends. And – more importantly – the product is integral to the advertisement. It’s nearly impossible to walk away from this or to retell the story without remembering Organic Fuel.
The problem with trying to recreate this kind of campaign is that in 99% of cases, virality is not the point. Adding value is.
When you combine value with virality, you’ve got internet gold that can catapult your brand. But in every other case (most cases), you’ll be better off paying to place something valuable directly in front of your audience.
Click below to listen to the podcast, or keep scrolling for the highlights.
What exactly is classified as social media?
People typically think of social media as this small group of heavily-used sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Those are certainly part of it, but social media isn’t just a bunch of websites.
Social media is basically the state of the internet. Everything is social these days.
Social media isn’t just a few websites. It’s the current state of the internet. (Tweet this!)
Just because you’re doing it, doesn’t mean you’re doing it well.
Creators have done really well to make their social media platforms super easy to use. But people mistake a platform’s ease of use for their own skill.
Just because you post a picture and get twenty likes, doesn’t mean you’re using social media well. It’s like eating. Everyone eats, but not everyone eats well. Engagement only matters so much as you get conversions.
Social media is like eating. Everyone eats, but not everyone eats well. (Tweet this!)
Find your targets, even if they’re not in obvious places.
Businesses tend to think that the best place for their brand to be is wherever there’s the most people. That’s simply not true.
The best place to be is where your targets spend their time and money. There’s no one best place, because the place your business needs to be depends on what you do and who your target is.
There’s no one best website or platform. It depends on where your targets spend their time and money. (Tweet this!)
Social media actually empowers our sociability.
Non-Millennials – and even a good chunk of Millennials – think social media is destroying our ability to foster non-digital relationships. But the research – and logic – shows the opposite.
People’s confidence to initiate face-to-face conversations, in certain age groups, decreases. But it actually gives people more social interaction more commonly, which is prove to help those people build relationships and navigate complex social constructs.
Social media isn’t destroying sociability, but improving it. (Tweet this!)
What happens next?
Over the next year or so, brands will likely move from trying to engage more people to engaging few people for longer. Ultimately, this will be better for everyone.
There’s probably going to be some new startup to disrupt everything, but for the time being the trends are split between video and long-form content (~2,500 word articles).
Brands are starting to move away from getting a ton of micro-engagements in favor of getting fewer engagements for longer, because that’s what’s converting.
Over the next year, more brands will focus on keeping fewer people engaged for longer. (Tweet this!)