Monthly Archives: January 2017
Online marketing trends change with every new delivery method and channel. Each year brings new technology, new opportunities, and new social channels to catch user fancy. The big winners in the battle for buyer attention might be early adopters throwing resources into promising new technology that proves successful, or businesses who stick with a particular channel to build a huge following.
Video marketing is certainly not new, but the market is changing, and video has emerged as a clear winner.
Video Marketing Trends
YouTube already dominates the field, with a billion users watching hundreds of millions of hours every day. To sweeten the marketing appeal, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-old viewers than any of the cable networks.
While YouTube traffic expanded more than 40 percent since last year, video viewing options also opened up. Facebook now offers embedded videos and in-line livestreaming, and services like Periscope and Facebook are starting to attract the bravest of no-do-over video pioneers marketing in real time.
Video Ads in Search Results
Another clear indicator of just how popular video marketing has become is the inevitable launch of in-SERP video ads. Google and Bing are both testing video incorporation into rich search results.
The new True View for Shopping, a product that allows users to order products from inside a demo video, has already yielded impressive results. Sephora and Wayfair test cases report increased viewing time, revenue and ad recall.
With big retailers and eager viewers already on board and social media and SERPs ramping up viewer opportunities, video marketing is set to explode like never before.
Why Video Marketing is Effective
Content marketing and social media changed the marketing game in a major way. Brand storytelling took center stage, propelled by the advantages of humanizing and allowing businesses to connect in a more meaningful way with their customer base.
For small businesses, video is an inexpensive way to level the playing field. Here, big businesses and slick, expensive advertising spots don’t always have the advantage. Smaller companies can stand out in several ways:
Answering customer FAQs
Showcasing products in action
Asking for user-generated contributions featuring real-life customers
Introducing staff and showing an intimate look around operations
Demonstrating product use
Featuring video testimonials
Thousands of small YouTube businesses have built audience and credibility with simple, straightforward advertising, and case studies show that video has a big impact on sales, especially for small businesses and cottage industry. More than half of marketers responding to the 2014 Video Statistics study by Invodo said that video offers a higher ROI than any other type of content.
New Technologies in Your Future
Every aspect of marketing in the last few years has moved toward personalization, targeting and interactive content. New video technology takes the concept to a new level, with engaging videos that move from viewing into response. Data collection forms, surveys, polls and choose-your-adventure videos will become more common.
You’ve seen these formats in Hulu big business advertising for years, but not in heavy use elsewhere. That’s bound to change as new video production programs make fancy interaction cheap and available for any user.
Approximately 96 percent of B2B advertisers are already using videos, but smaller B2C businesses may have been slower to adopt due to production costs or simple reluctance to waste marketing dollars on a technology they may not feel is effective.
As a small business owner, you probably already have a website from which to sell your wares. And while online sales can surely flourish with strong SEO, statistics show that only about 25 percent of web leads advance to actual sales. For this reason, savvy SMBs are constantly looking for other ways to sell their products and services, besides their own stores and webpages.
From third-party sites to trade shows, the modern small business owner has multiple options when it comes to finding customers for her goods. Here are 6 ways to sell your products or services by looking outside the box:
One of the most popular third-party sales sites, Etsy is home to a wide array of artisans, craftspeople, and vintage dealers. Not only does Etsy offer you access to a large number of crafty and antique-loving customers that you might not have found on your own, but it also enjoys a strong reputation for quality and reliability. As a result, new consumers might be more likely to give you a chance on Etsy than if they stumbled on your private webpage. If you tend to sell a lot of jewelry, fashion products, or geeky toys and gifts, Etsy might be the third-party dealer for you.
An alternative to sites like Etsy and eBay, Bonanza is a great choice for small businesses seeking a way to list goods online. Not only is it free to list on Bonanza, but the company also tends to take a smaller commission for sales than some of the other vendors out there. Additionally, the site features actual people (not robots) to consult on purchases. As a result, your customers can receive the same specialized attention they would if they purchased goods in their own stores.
One of the benefits of using Shopfy to market your goods online is that you can create a customized shop design that echoes the aesthetics of your homepage. This e-commerce site lets you choose from a wide array of themes that are both attractive and mobile responsive, so buyers can purchase your wares just as easily from a mobile phone or tablet. While Shopify isn’t free, business owners can choose from multiple service tiers, the most affordable of which starts at just $29 a month. However, you should note that there might be an additional cost for special features and add-ons.
4. Trade Shows
If you’re already using third-party vendors to sell your goods, you might be able to expand your sales base by attending a local trade show. Depending on your industry, there are likely a number of relevant trade shows happening annually in your part of the country. While purchasing booths can be costly—attending one show might cost you a few thousand dollars—the events offer SMBs an invaluable opportunity to connect with potential customers, industry experts, and even local and national retailers who might be willing to feature your products in their stores. As an added bonus, trade shows provide the kind of one-on-one, personal interaction that business owners can’t provide to their online clients. For best results, do your research to find out who will be attending a particular show and assess all fees and costs before signing on that dotted line.
One of the best ways to boost sales of your products and services is to send complimentary samples out to market influencers. In our modern era, just about anyone can become a social media celebrity. Small business owners can and should target members of their fields who boast large social followings; for example, a Los Angeles clothing retailer might want to target LA-based style icons who regularly tweet and Instagram about their top shops. Start by making friends with these industry beacons on social media by liking their posts and commenting on their blogs. Then, ask if you can send them a product sample or two. The hope is that a few such influencers will mention you in their blogs and social media posts, thereby directing more traffic to your site.
Even those small business owners with brick-and-mortar shops of their own might struggle to bring in the necessary customer base to keep their doors open. If you’re not seeing sufficient sales from your store or website, consider hosting a few local events. Not only does this help bring in new customers, but it also creates positive feelings among the members of your community. Many consumers would prefer to buy local—you just have to show them how to do so in a way that’s convenient and affordable.
After deciding what type of event best suits your business—a seminar, a cocktail party—you should send out fliers and advertise the event on your website and social media pages. Be sure to give out branded products on the big day, like totes, mugs, water bottles, or magnets, so customers will remember you for their future purchasing needs.
Whether you call it retargeting or remarketing, no ad campaign is complete without some sort of retargeting campaign. We won’t get into the differences between remarketing and retargeting in this article but here’s what you need to know about retargeting and how to start a campaign in Facebook.
What is Retargeting
It’s a kind of magical thing if you’re not familiar with ad technology. You happen to be on Amazon checking out the best deals on cutlery or maybe you’re shopping for the best deals on a new iPad. Then, you head over to Facebook and you’re sure Facebook has spied on you because right there on the right hand side you see ads for the same products at the same stores you just visited. Creepy? To some people, yes. Effective? Absolutely. Retargeting ads perform 3 to 10 times better than traditional online ad campaigns, according to research.
Let’s not forget to address the potential problems. We weren’t kidding when we labeled it, “creepy.” People unfamiliar with how retargeting works (that would be most people) label it as creepy, annoying, intrusive, and distracting far more often than other ad types but the younger the audience, the less they care. If you’re retargeting to an older population you might find a more pronounced negative sentiment than with younger crowds.
Creating a Facebook Remarketing Campaign
First, a quick workflow. Customer comes to your website. They look at something but don’t end up buying. We call that “converting” in the marketing field. When they leave, your website installs a cookie in their browser. When they go to Facebook, that cookie creates an ad for the products they viewed. But how do you make it all work?
It starts with something called a pixel. A pixel is a small piece of computer code you install on your website that helps Facebook track visitors and also install that cookie in the person’s browser.
By the way, a cookie only sits on a person’s computer. No information is transmitted back to your computer about the person’s browsing habits or other sensitive information. Here’s the rest of the step-by-step.
1. Head to the Ads Manager
To create a retargeting campaign you’ll need a business account. That starts with having a Facebook page for your business. Go to your page and look for the blue “Promote” tab on the left side of the page. You will also find it on the right side if you scroll down.
2. Create Your Pixel
Click, “Go To Ads Manager.” Once you’re in the main dashboard, click the hamburger menu in the upper left corner and choose “Pixels.” Then click “Create Audience.”
There are a lot of options in here but choose what works best for your site. If you want to reach anybody that comes to your site, you can. If only certain pages, you can do that too. It’s totally up to you.
3. Install Your Pixel
Next, click the “Actions” dropdown and choose “View Pixel Code.” Copy the code and place it in the <head> section of your website pages. If you have a WordPress site, you can download a plugin that allows you to install code in the header section of your site.
If you don’t, and you don’t know how to work with code, there are plenty of websites that will show you how or head to Facebook and post a status asking for help. You probably have a friend that can help. If not, hire somebody.
4. Design Your Ad
From here, you need a good ad. What are you going to show them on Facebook once they leave your site? The quality of the ad is what will or won’t convert to sales. Often, it takes a lot of testing to figure out what works but once you find the high performing ad, put it to work.
If you’re not sure how to create the ad, read up on how to create high-performing Facebook ads first. Then when you start the process of creating the ad, choose “Custom Audience” and select the audience you created. After that, you create an ad just as you if you weren’t retargeting.
Times are Changing
If you’ve installed a pixel in the past, it will soon be out of date. By February of 2017, Facebook will completely retire what used to be called the conversion pixel. Instead, marketers will have to install the new Facebook pixel that combines a lot of technologies into 1 piece of code. If you haven’t created a retargeting campaign yet, you don’t have anything to worry about. As soon as you do, you’ll have the new Facebook pixel. Problem solved.
Don’t forget that nothing is more important than the quality of your ad. The colors, the messaging, and everything else that makes for a great looking—and converting ad—must be on point or no amount of ad technology will work. Just like you would any advertising campaign, test different ads.