16 Tips to beat the Facebook algorithm

This is the most frustrating thing about being on social media – the algorithm. It seems to me that it is constantly changing and always throwing up something new to deter our audiences and our posts! But there are ways to try and beat it.

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

Very basically, the algorithm looks at decides which posts everyone sees every time they check on their newsfeed…and also the order that those posts show up.

Facebook tells us that there are several layers to the algorithm, and the machine learns how to predict which posts will be the most valuable and meaningful to individuals over the long term. Gobbledegook!

What this means in simple language with that Facebook does not present posts to you in chronological order. It looks at the posts available and then puts them out in descending order of interest for each user. We don’t know exactly how it decides what to show us, and more importantly, what NOT to show us, but this process happens every single time we log in. But we do know that its aim is to keep us scrolling so that we see more ads!

For small business brands, this means that if you want more organic reach, you need to post content that people will engage with. What you post will depend on what your business is…and what you want to achieve with your posts.

Facebook content

What are your goals for your posts? Is it to get followers to visit your website or your online shop? It might be that you want people to sign up to your email subscription. And sometimes, it might just mean you want to engage with your audience and get to know them better.

If you want people to visit your website or online shop, content needs to be valuable. Blog posts with helpful information for example, or interactive guides and video content.

To get more people to your shop, you could give them features that make their shopping experience more enjoyable. This could be in the form of vibrant images, buyer testimonials and, if you make something, a video showing you making something from start to finish. You can do the same with images – showing a step-by-step process. For example, if you are an artist, you can show your work progressing over the course of a week, with a series of photos. This is great as it encourages your audience to look for you every day to see how the work is coming along.

If you want your audience to sign up to your email or newsletter, make sure that you make the content of your email appealing and give little tasters on your Facebook post about what they can expect, which will encourage them to join you.

Start a conversation

Get your audience talking to you and to each other on your posts. Social engagement is one of the key areas that will help your posts rank higher, and so be shown to more of your followers.

Encourage conversations by asking questions. The way you interact with your followers in conversations needs to be genuine and encourage two-way interaction for a couple of replies.

You can use several strategies to start conversations. As I said, you can ask questions. You can also be funny or entertaining – talk about something current or share something that you have seen that you find amusing.

You might be someone who likes to share interesting or inspiring facts or topics – or maybe something a little bit controversial. All these posts will spark interest and get noticed by the algorithm.

Keep your audience in mind

When you are crafting your posts, always think about your target audience and write it with them in mind. What do they like to see? What topics do they engage with? What kind of images to they like?

Local content is also good – if you have something going on in your area, and you have followers locally to you, talk about an event that is happening that they might be interested in. If you’re a creative who makes things, it could be sharing a market or stall you are setting up for a weekend event. Don’t just advertise the event – make sure you take photos and post them in real time to encourage people to engage and even pop along and meet you.

Facebook insights

This leads nicely into insights. How do you know who is following you? Where are they from? What kind of posts are popular?

To help you beat the algorithm, you need to know how your content performs and who your audience is. Your insights will tell you what works best and what doesn’t work; they show you your top ranking and bottom ranking posts, what time of day is best for your engagement and where your audience are from – the demographics.

It’s well worth tracking your insights on at least a weekly basis, so you can decide how best you can beat the algorithm.

Timing is everything!

From your insights you can see what time is best for you to post – it makes sense to post your content when you target audience is online.

It’s best to post at your peak engagement times – this might not be at the same time every day…and will not be at the same time as other businesses. If you’re really not sure what time is best for you, try posting at various times of day and track your posts’ performance over a week – then you’ll be able to see on your insights when is the peak time for your business.

Banned content

This is something that I’m sure we’ve all experienced. Facebook deems that certain content is not suitable or goes against their standards. This includes fake news, anything that makes health claims or misleading information, for example, you’re guaranteed to lose weight.

Sometimes it feels like you are being targeted – I know I felt like this when I had a few posts banned and I really wasn’t sure why. I appealed and Facebook did reply to say why – it turned out it was a particular word that I used in my caption description!

Video

Facebook loves video content, so this will be pushed as a priority, so things like ‘lives’ and pre-recorded video will be shown to more of your followers. This kind of content doesn’t have to be perfect or need to use professional equipment; you can simply use your phone.

User generated content

UGC, or user generated content is as it says on the packet. It’s content which is generated by your customers – this could be in the form of a video from a customer showing how they use your product, a photo of a customer with your product, or maybe a podcast where your product is discussed. In fact, anything that your customers or followers produce for you about you or your products.

Be consistent

I often see marketers advocate the need to post every single day…or even several times a day in order to engage your audience. This is not necessarily true for all brands. You will know what works best for you and your business. I always post every morning on Facebook, but I don’t post on Instagram until late afternoon/early evening, as my analysis of my insights tell me that’s the best time. I rarely post on a Sunday, but when I do, it doesn’t make that much difference to the engagement I get, so it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, you do decide to post, ensure that you post consistently. So, if you post seven days a week at 8am, stick with that if your insights tell you that’s the best time of day. Your customers will learn what time you post and will expect to see your posts at that time.

If you decide you only post three times a week, that’s fine too…so long as you post consistently. Consistency is what wins the race!

Facebook groups

I’m sure that all of us are members of Facebook groups. I belong to several groups and post regularly on at least two of them every day. Facebook likes groups and they do push the advertising of groups.

At their 2019 F9 Conference, Facebook said that people “might see more content from groups in their newsfeed.”

This means that it is recommended that you join relevant Facebook groups. By relevant, I mean groups that are relevant to your business and your brand. It’s not usually encouraged to be all ‘salesy’ in groups, but normally the admins will have different things happening on each day of the week. So, you could be joining in with engagement and conversations on an ‘Introduce yourself Monday’ post, or a group admin might ask for posts around specific themes, such as the recent ones I’m seeing – show me something that you sell or offer beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet. You can get really creative with this and make it fit your business! There will be posts to share your blog, share a link to your shop or website. These posts not only help small businesses, but they also get conversations started, help participants meet other, like-minded people, as well as educate and solve problems.

The only thing I would really advise against is to join in with ‘follow for follow’ posts. In my opinion, these serve no purpose whatsoever. You will pick up new follows and likes, but they won’t necessarily be your target audience and if they’re not, they won’t engage with your posts and so will ultimately affect your algorithm as it will show followers that don’t engage. I avoid these at all costs.

Engagement bait

Facebook absolutely hates engagement baiting. Although it’s not advised to explicitly ask for comments, such as ‘comment below,’ you can ask for comments by using open-ended questions. This works well if you use polls.

Facebook also sees ‘follow for follow’ as engagement bait, so if you do get involved with these, your algorithm will suffer.

Keep your posts unique

Producing unique posts every single day of the week is difficult to do. It’s something I hear all the time as a marketer – ‘I’ve run out of content,’ or ‘I don’t have any more ideas for posts.’

There are lots of ways to help you with unique posts.

Repurposing content you’ve posted before or elsewhere is one of them. If you write a weekly blog for example, you can get loads of posts from that content. It could be a list of tips, a video, a podcast, or using images to illustrate a point you’ve made in your blog. You can also look at relevant quotes around the subject you’ve blogged about.

Other places to get inspiration for posts are website such as Pinterest, Ask the public, Quora, Reddit and BuzzSumo to name a few. You just log into these websites and write a question in the search box relating to your niche or business. There will be loads of ideas or questions that pop up. You can use this to write blogs, content for posts etc. You can also see commonly asked questions about your niche, and see what pain points your target audience has – use this to your advantage and answer those questions using your products or services.

Get verified on Facebook

You should aim to have around 500 followers before trying to get officially verified. Being verified just proves to your audience that you a bona fide business. There are so many fake businesses and accounts out there, this is a way to prove you are authentic. Because of this, Facebook do make you jump through a few hoops to get this status.

But when your page is verified, you’ll receive a blue checkmark or tick next to your name.

Verification is free and you’ll need to provide a cover photo, a profile photo, a name that follows Facebook’s guidelines and content posted to the account. Visitors must be allowed to follow you and you must also provide a government issued I.D, such as a driving license or passport. You’ll also be asked to provide a document with a watermark, for pages not representing a person (so representing a business). This would be a company utility bill or tax document for example. Here’s a link to the relevant Facebook article that tells you exactly what to do to get verified.

Hashtags

We all know about hashtags these days and they are used on every post on Instagram. But hashtags can also be good for your marketing success if you use them on Facebook. Using hashtags helps you to connect and reach people you haven’t reached before when they search for related topics.

Always keep your hashtags relevant to your post and relevant to your brand. Don’t overuse them – you don’t need to have them on every single post and only use a few. You can use the same hashtags that you use on Instagram or Twitter, and you can create your own hashtag that is relevant to your business if you want to.

Always reply to your audience

This is obvious, but always reply to messages. Always reply to comments made on your posts and reply to any questions asked. It’s important to let your followers know that they are being heard and that their comments are valuable.

It also shows your followers that you are genuine and that you care about what they have to say.

Paying for advertising

Facebook ads are relatively low cost and can really help you target a particular audience. I have had mixed experience with ads, and don’t tend to need to use them, but I know lots of businesses who find paid ads invaluable to getting more customers and helping them to grow their business.

Conclusion

Facebook is one of the easiest social media platforms to use and has the highest number of members. As a business, it’s crucial to establish your presence on Facebook, understand who your customers and target audience are…and how to reach them. Facebook does help you with this through insights.

Although the algorithm and its constant changes can be very frustrating, Facebook is still one of the best ways to connect with your target audience. It’s important to just try and keep on top of all the changes and adapt your posts and habits accordingly.

But the way to beat the algorithm is to be consistent, have meaningful conversations, post a variety of posts including video, and give your audience great value by being interactive and interested in what they have to say when they connect and interact with you.

I really hope this has helped you understand the algorithm a bit more. Which tip is your favourite? And what’s the one thing you’ll take away from this blog post?

How to tell a good story for your business

We see stories wherever we look, and the bigger corporates have understood the benefits of telling their story for years, as part of their marketing strategy. As a small business, we often forget about this little gem. But it really helps us connect with our audiences and instill trust.

Stories help us understand the world around us. They are a way to help your audience understand more about you, without being overwhelmed by the details about your products. They help show the ‘authentic you,’ so that your customers will be more interested in what you have to say about your products.

Why should you tell your story?

By nature, people are nosy and curious – they like to know about the person they are buying from.

Marketing your business is a real challenge in today’s online world, and there is so much competition, so you need to be able to stand out in the crowd.

Storytelling creates a fabulous connection with your audience. Sharing your experiences helps to encourage and help others and brings your brand to life. It conveys the purpose of your business and what you stand for and helps make your products more appealing.

Content marketing

Content marketing is what helps you to sell your products. You need to release the magic that you put into your products, be it artwork, crafts, photography etc. You are creating a story around you and around your work.

It’s an incredibly competitive out there, so your unique storytelling is what will set you apart from your peers. You might think, if your products are very visual (such as paintings or photography) that your pictures will sell themselves – surely, if people like what you do, they will buy it. Of course, this may be true for a small percentage of your audience. They will see something that resonates with them, or you may sell something that they are particularly looking for and have searched for. But sadly, when people are looking online, it’s easy to scroll past something that would actually resonate with them if they knew more about it…and about you. This is where the importance of storytelling comes in. People remember stories, you want to convince them to love your work as much as you do. They need to feel your passion and understand the reasons why you do what you do – this creates a real connection between you and your audience.

Know your audience

The first thing to think about is your audience. Do you know who your target audience are? I’m not going to go into detail about how to identify your target audience and building a buyer persona, but if you click on these links, you can see previous blog posts where I have gone into detail about this.

How to identify your target audience

How to create your buyer persona

It’s really important to know your audience, so you know how to approach them and what kind of content will make them look at your products.

How to tell your story – the monomyth

There are lots of ways to tell your story. In this blog, I’m going to look at the Monomyth, which is just one concept.

Joseph Campbell, an American author, who worked on mythology produced the idea of the Monomyth.

He said that most myths contain some common elements – heroes start out as lowly mortals; they receive some sort of call to adventure and divine assistance to get started. They encounter obstacles along the way, go through a transformation and return to where they started as a hero, changed for the better in most cases.

An example

I’m going to use Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ as an example.

Bilbo Baggins was just a normal hobbit, with a peaceful life, living in the rural Shire. One day, the wizard, Gandalf, calls on him to persuade him to join Thorin and his twelve dwarves to recover their stolen treasure, which is being guarded by the dragon, Smaug.

So, although he initially resisted, Bilbo embarks on a fantastic adventure, where he stares death in the face and returns a stronger, wiser hobbit, and is the hero of the story.

When you are telling your story, the Monomyth is a great way to structure it. If you do this well, you will get and keep your audience’s attention. There are lots of people who have different concepts about the Monomyth, but I like the remarkably simple version and its structure.

The Monomyth

Let’s start at the beginning…your calling

Like Bilbo Baggins, at some point you felt the calling to do what you do. It might have been a slow realisation that your hobby could be more than just a passing interest. It might be that it’s been a lifelong passion that you felt you could no longer ignore. It could be that you express your beliefs and interests through your work and that you’re getting a message out there.

Whatever it is that brought you to where you are today – these are the things you should use to introduce yourself to your audience.

Talk about what inspires you…is there a meaning or reason behind what you do?

The idea for this part of the Monomyth is to excite and enthuse your audience. You might feel that your reasoning behind what you do is quite mundane, but to your followers, it will be interesting.

The obstacles

The next part of the Monomyth is the obstacles.

  • People love to hear how you overcome obstacles or opposition
  • Your audience what to talk to you and hear about your processes – for example, if you make something or paint, how do you start on a new piece? People love to see a work in progress too, so showing the process in a step-by-step series of posts is a great idea to engage your audience.
  • Talk about the difficulties and how you overcame them.

Good old Bilbo faced danger and adversity to fulfil his mission. What were the obstacles that you faced? You may not have had a great tragedy in your life, (I hope you haven’t), but everyone, no matter what they do, meets adversity or resistance at some point when creating their work.

Some ideas might be…

  • Dealing with health issues
  • Figuring out how to make or do something that was very technically challenging
  • Coming up with funding – how do you fund what you do?
  • Struggling to communicate what is really happening behind what you do
  • Struggling against a system that puts you at a financial disadvantage

For example, we’ve been experiencing one of the worst global pandemics in years and the world basically shut down. How did that affect you and your business? I know it had an affect on my business and on the businesses of several friends.

Did anything you have experienced during lockdown, or during the pandemic, that inspired you and your work?

You might have a story about going into a dark place, where you really struggled to do anything. How did you cope with that? What did you do to pull yourself out of the abyss? I know this sounds a bit dramatic…but you get the picture.

Emerging triumphant

At some time or other, when you are in a creative mode, frantically getting everything down or done that you can, you emerge from your whirl of creativity. This is where you want to sell your products.

It could be that you have an online shop, a physical location, or sell on social media. However, you do it, this is the time to start asking for a sale, via advertising or posting about your actual products.

Make sure that you use a good product description to help your sales.

The returning hero/heroine

Finally, you have success, and like Bilbo Baggins, you are the hero/heroine of the story. When you sell something, share your victories with your friends and family – no matter how big or small. Celebrate your wins! Write about it on social media, on your website or in your blog or email. Be proud of what you’ve achieved…and don’t forget to thank your audience.

You’ve worked hard to get that achievement and you need to show your passion and excitement for your success.

Conclusion

That’s the Monomyth – in a nutshell! It is just one way to tell your story, but it works well as a structure and can give you something to aim for. Put yourself at the centre of your story and share your journey.

Your audience will love to see you progress and will enjoy celebrating your wins with you. Storytelling is a great way to develop your personal brand and to portray the ‘real you’ to your audience. Good luck!

If you’d like to get more marketing tips delivered to your inbox, please sign up to my email subscription. It’s completely free and you get a free marketing strategy workbook as a thank you for signing up. You also get ‘member only’ access to a restricted area of my website, where you will find lots of free resources to help you market your small business.

Writing great product descriptions

A well thought out and written product description can be very powerful. It can move your customers to buy from you, or at least make them sit up and take notice of your products. Having a great product description is as important as having fabulous images or an amazing website. Your descriptions contribute to your customers’ experience and also contributes to the credibility of your online shop or products.

The most common mistake that most people make is that they simply describe their products, as in what it is. This leaves your audience a bit flat – they can see what it is you’re selling. They want to understand the unique value proposition of your product, or how it gives a solution to a problem they have.

What makes a good product description?

An effective description describes the features and benefits of your product to your customer. The aim of your description is to provide the customer with information that compels them to want to buy it immediately.

This involves writing persuasive copy and answering these questions…

  • What problem does your product solve?
  • What do your customers gain from using your product?
  • What separates your products from others on the market?

You also need to think about SEO, (search engine optimisation), such as relevant keywords that you think your customers will use when searching for products like yours. If you get the right keywords, you’ll get more visitors …and more sales. Google will then recognise that you’re getting lots of visitors and so your online shop or website will rank higher.

The three rules to selling online

There are three basic rules to selling online…

People don’t like to be ‘sold to,’ they like to buy. If they are being sold to, then the seller is in control – if they choose to buy, they are in control. So, what you need to do is tempt your audience by solving a problem or helping them achieve a goal.

Appeal to their emotions, so they WANT to buy your products. I’m sure you’ll have heard the acronym, FOMO – the fear of missing out. This is a good example of appealing to people’s emotions. It’s not one that I’m particularly comfortable with – a good example is phone companies – they use this tactic to encourage us to buy the latest mobile phone, with all the latest technology and gadgets. The truth is, the phone you have is probably good enough for what you want, but they make you WANT to have the newer version.

You don’t have to use this hard-hitting tactic. You can use your copy to highlight the problems that your audience faces and how your product solves that. Make them feel good about the solution.

Your customers will want to have a logical reason or a rationale for buying your product – not just the emotional one. This is where your product specifications or good customer service comes in. This alone won’t sell your product, but it helps your customer feel good about the decision to buy from you.

If you think about the ads you see on TV…for fast food delivery for example. They tempt their audience in with the kind of food they know their target audience likes. They tell them that whenever they fancy a particular meal, they can get it immediately. They don’t have to go out in the cold, drive to the shop, queue for ages whilst their food is prepared, then get it home without the food getting cold. NO, you can order and have it delivered, hot and ready to eat – in your own home, on your sofa, in front of your TV.

We all know that this is more expensive, but we do it anyway, because the adverts make you WANT to.

Once they’ve set the scene, you have the specifications – what food is available, what side orders you can have, what drinks you can order, and even desserts. And you’re given the website address to order it from.

OK, I’ll give you some examples for the smaller businesses.

Jane is an artist. She sells her artwork in the form of one-off original paintings.

What will tempt her target audience? What problem is she solving for them?

Buying original artwork is an emotional buy. Your audience need to feel a connection to it – it needs to speak to them. Whether you sell landscapes or wild seascapes, wildlife, or flowers, you need to know your audience and what makes them tick.

If your artwork is one of a kind, your audience may be drawn to that because no one else will own that same painting. It makes them feel unique and valued, especially if you do commissions, so they can ask for what they want.

If you do pet or family portraits, emotion plays a big part in the decision to buy an original.

It might be that you have regular buyers who just love your work and are building a collection. They will want your latest creation as it will complete their collection.

If you paint pictures of a particular place, such as a beach that has a popular feature, or a castle that people can book for a wedding, the emotion to sell here is that they can have a little piece of a memory they have of that place hanging on their wall. They may have childhood memories of that beach that they want to capture forever in their home.

Once you know what the emotional part is, you can connect with your potential buyers by selling the benefits, for example, the feeling the painting evokes, such as joy from a memory of childhood.

The features would be the size of the painting and the materials you use to create it. You need to weave these together.

Let’s take the beach example – the feature in the painting is a lighthouse. I come from Burnham on Sea in Somerset, where there is a lighthouse on nine legs, so I’m going to use that – it reminds me of my childhood and walking the family dog with my Mum, come rain or shine.

Example 1

Burnham on Sea beach with lighthouse.

38cm X 55cm

£30

Example 2

Burnham on Sea beach, featuring the famous lighthouse.

If you have ever holidayed in this popular West Country seaside resort, you couldn’t fail to notice the iconic 36 feet high, white wooden lighthouse, which stands on nine vertical pillars.

If you’ve walked the short distance from the pier to the lighthouse, this painting will bring back many peaceful memories of this regal, yet tranquil setting; the slight breeze with the taste of salt in the air, the sea rolling gently in, and the soft, yellow sand underfoot.

This oil on canvas, is just £30 and measures 38cm X 55cm.

OK, so I know I’ve gone a bit over the top with my description, but you get the idea – paint a picture of your painting with words to entice your buyers in. Spark their imagination – help stimulate their senses.

Let’s have a look at a different example…

Alice makes jewellery. She uses silver wire to make her pieces and incorporates gemstones with the silver.

Example 1

Silver and amethyst gemstone ring.

£10.99 plus postage.

Select your size from the dropdown box.

Example 2

Hand crafted delicate, silver ring, adorned with a stunning purple amethyst quartz gemstone. The spiritual meaning of amethyst is healing, tranquillity and calm. Amethyst has been used throughout history to expel feelings of anger, frustration, or fury from your body.

It is also the traditional gift for the 33rd wedding anniversary. The colour purple has been linked with nobility and is a regal colour, so it has that certain luxurious quality.

Available in many different sizes, this ring is £10.99 plus postage. A little bit of luxury without breaking the bank.

Again, I may have over-exaggerated the description to get my point across, but I hope you now have a better understanding and I hope this article has given you some clarity about how to write a good product description.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email or message on social media.

Next time

As well as describing your product on your online shop or website, you should also use social media to point your audience to your website. On social media, you could talk more about your journey or story. How did you come to paint or make jewellery? What inspired you to start? Why do you use the material you use?

Storytelling will be the subject of my next blog, so hope you will tune in next time!

In the meantime, you could subscribe to my monthly email, which gives you valuable tips for marketing your small business, as well as ‘member only’ access to lots of free marketing resources to help you with your marketing.

Create an effective Christmas Marketing Strategy in 16 steps

An effective marketing campaign will engage new or potential customers, boost your sales, and build and strengthen relationships with your existing customers.

Your customers are primed and ready to start spending, so make sure you are not missing out on the action. Although we’re already just into November, there will be plenty of customers out there; some will already have done most of their shopping and will be looking for last minute bits; at the other end of the spectrum, (like me), some won’t even have thought about Christmas shopping yet, so will be looking avidly over the next few weeks.

Planning your marketing strategy for the holiday season will ensure your business grows and puts you in a great place to start the New Year.

So how do you get started? It’s simple…

Define your SMART goals

I know, everyone talks about goal setting, but for this time of year, (or in fact any time of year), goals are what keeps your business growing, learning, and improving. These goals need to be specific for your Christmas campaign and SMART, (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely). LINK

For example, your main goal might be that you want more sales. Your SMART goal would be, ‘To increase my sales and profits between now and the end of 2021 by 20%, compared to the same time last year.’

This is specific, it’s definitely achievable, it’s relevant as it’s Christmas and people typically spend more money, and it’s timely, for the same reason – it’s a holiday time when people are spending more.

Once you have your goals in place, so you know what you’re aiming for, now you can think about the marketing – HOW are you going to achieve those goals?

Here are a few ideas that could help ramp up your sales this year…

Customise your packaging

Having customised packaging is important for your brand and creates a great ‘unboxing’ or ‘unopening’ experience for your customers…and it’s all about the customer experience! If you have unique packaging with the name of your business, it adds a bit of class and feels more luxurious to your customers.

Exclusivity

Following on from customising your packaging, you could produce a special Christmas edition of your product, and your packaging could reflect this.

Create an online catalogue

Christmas is the perfect time to revise and refresh your marketing materials. With the many great, free resources available these days, creating a digital or online catalogue is relatively easy to do. Canva is one tool you can use to help you do this…and they have some very professional templates.

I remember my children browsing through the Argos catalogue and putting circles around the things they’d like for Christmas or birthday. But with printed catalogues almost outdated, digital is still very much what people want. Good photos of your products are necessary for this and can show off your products in a very professional way. With digital catalogue you can also make each image a link to the relevant product page on your website or online shop. This makes buying and browsing so easy for your customers.

You can market your catalogue on your website from a tab, in a blog, in your email list and on social media, as well as on your Google My Business page, which will give you the best chance of getting those sales.

Remarketing

What’s this? You see it all the time, but probably don’t realise it. Whenever you go onto Amazon to look for something. If, for example I go onto Amazon and look for Organic Shampoo. When I click on a product I’m interested in, there’s always something else that pops up. Underneath the item I’m looking at, it will say ‘Consider a similar item’ and point me to something similar. They always have a section too, that says ‘Frequently bought together’… and for the purpose of this example, it shows me conditioner and a body wash from the same brand.

This is remarketing – giving other ideas around the same theme…and even the same product from a different organic shampoo company.

Collaboration

Collaboration is about teaming up with another small business that would complement your business. For example, if you sell luxury coffee, you could team up with a small business that makes coffee mugs or insulated mugs. You then both promote each other’s business. If you sell coffee, you could say that with an insulated mug, people can now enjoy the luxury of a good coffee on the go. You get the idea!

Once you have a collaboration, this can carry over from Christmas into the New Year and include other holidays. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship!

Have a cut-off date

Bear in mind, that there are many postage deadlines in the lead up to Christmas, so if you offer postage on your items, ensure that you have a cut-off date to ensure that your customers get your products before the big day. If a customer lives near you, you could let them collect up to Christmas Eve, but if you must post locally, it will take longer. If you ship worldwide, that cut-off date will be sooner. Just keep this in mind and don’t make promises you can’t keep as that is very damaging to your business.

You could also consider offering free shipping – people are willing to pay a bit more for a product if they get free shipping, so it’s well worth thinking about.

Your opening hours

Don’t forget to update your website, social media, and Google My Business page to show your opening hours over the Christmas period, so you don’t disappoint any potential customers.

Have a stock of your products

This is really obvious but ensure that your most popular products are in stock. You don’t want to run out and have to turn people away or have to email to say that you don’t have a product they’ve ordered on your website or online shop.

Use your email list

If you have a list of email subscribers via your blog or website, use this to advertise your products too. You don’t have to be pushy and salesy, as I know a lot of us don’t like to do that, but you can point your subscribers to your promotional campaign or exclusive offers.

As they subscribe to your regular email, you could even offer them a special discount code.

Don’t forget to ensure that your email marketing for November and December uses festive imagery to ensure you are getting your readers into the spirit of things!

What does your product do for your audience?

This is the age-old, sell the solution, not the product. The most successful products will always focus on the customer – and showing how that product benefits the life of the potential user. What problems does it solve?

Let’s go back to the coffee example. Your luxury coffee might be organic – why is this important to your audience? How does it enhance their life? You could say it energises and enriches your mind, keeping you focussed on the important things in life. If your product has a specific ingredient that you want to advertise, give the benefits of that ingredient and why it is so good. It could be that it’s a good choice for the planet because of the way it’s produced.

Again, you get the idea, any product has its selling point.

Create bundles

This is an amazing way to sell your products. Simply bundle some of them together. For example, buy luxury coffee and a festive mug together at a slightly cheaper price than if they were sold individually. The benefits of bundling items together are that customers see them as a bargain – a bundle increases the perceived value of an item. If you couple this with your bespoke packaging, your customers have superb gift ideas. If you also add free shipping to bundled items, this will make it even more attractive.

Create ideas with a gift guide

This is a simple idea that can help your sales. All you have to do is to create a guide of ideas using your products. It’s a collection of your products that will make good presents…and give ideas as to who they could be for and why.

For example, it could be ‘Gifts for men’ or ‘Gifts for the coffee lover,’ ‘Gifts for Mum or for your best friend.’ Then include the items you sell that are relevant to men, coffee lovers, friends etc. Create a landing page, which is easily done in Mailerlite for example, which displays your products in one place. You can them promote that landing page on your website, in your email, blog or on your social media sites.

It’s about suggesting who your products might be suitable for and marketing them as such.

Keep on top of your images

Log into your website and have a look at it from a customer’s perspective. They need to know that you’ve got a festive promotion, or a gift guide, or online catalogue. Make sure that there is something bold, front, and centre on your homepage to advertise the fact, with links to the relevant pages or products on your shop.

Change the images on your product pages to show your products with a more festive theme.

If you’re on social media, update your cover pages to advertise your festive products and ensure that you have some great images on Google My Business. You could update your profile picture to you in party mode or wearing a Santa hat – depending on what you do!

This is time consuming, but absolutely worth it for the sales you will generate.

Keywords

Just as you update your imagery, also update your keywords to include what you’re doing this Christmas. Here’s a few suggestions…

  • Christmas gifts
  • Christmas gifts for men/coffee lover/best friend/Mum
  • Buy Christmas decorations
  • DIY Christmas decorations
  • DIY Christmas decorations for kids
  • Festive food

This does require some research to ensure you get the right keywords or hashtags for you and your business and products. Once you have them, use them on your posts, on your website, blog, and social media.

Offer gift cards

Whilst most of us like to look for that perfect gift for our loved one, there will be customers out there who just don’t know what they want to buy. This is the ideal person to sell a gift card to – they can spend what they like and the person they buy for can choose exactly what they’d like from your product range.

If you do offer a gift card, make sure there is a simple graphic on your homepage, or a link to a landing page, specifically dedicated to gift cards in your online shop or web page.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

These two days are your best friends when it comes to selling your products for Christmas. These two events are heavily advertised on TV, all over the internet and social media. If you don’t join in, you will lose out on some fabulous sales.

The other joy these days bring, is that it will really set your business up for Christmas sales. If someone has bought something from you at a reduced rate on Black Friday, they will know your business and may think of you when buying their last-minute Christmas gifts. But there are other things you can do to encourage this…

  • Offer a special 10% off discount for the rest of the year, for anyone who buys from you on Black Friday or Cyber Monday
  • Add in a little free gift
  • Offer free postage
  • Tell them that if they recommend you to friends and family, by sharing your post and one of their friends buys from you, they get a free gift, or 20% off their next purchase from you

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only days each year that your business can use to get seen and sell more. Here are a few more in November and December.

  • Small business Saturday – 27th November
  • St Nicholas Day – 6th December
  • Free shipping day – 14th December
  • Panic Saturday – 18th December

There are many others throughout the year too.

Finally, finally…

Don’t forget that elusive time of year – between Christmas and New Year. It always feels a bit like limbo land, but as a lot of the ‘January’ sales start on Boxing Day in the UK, it’s a great time to continue pushing for sales. People are happy, they’ve eaten and drunk too much, they have a bit of money in their pockets…and time on their hands to scroll through social media on their phones. If you have an ad on your page, or a post pinned to the top of your page, saying your sale starts now, you will be seen by your customers and followers.

You could do a ‘flash sale’ with a ‘Santa didn’t get me what I wanted’ type title! Have heavily discounted items that you want to move quickly.

If you still have Christmas themed products, heavily discount them selling for a ‘Buy now for next Christmas.’

Then in the New Year, you’re ready to launch your new range of products or services starting anew.

Don’t forget that the aim of a Christmas campaign is to have satisfied, happy customers, who will want to come back to buy from you again in the New Year. And make your brand stand out in the crowd, so people remember you and your business. I hope this has helped you plan your campaign.

Let me know how you get on with yours.

How to stand out on your Instagram bio

Your bio is the first thing visitors to your Instagram account will see. You have 150 characters to introduce yourself to your audience, let them know exactly what you do and how you can help them, and to engage them. It seems a bit overwhelming to try and so all this in just 150 words, but this blog post will help you…I’ve got your back!

You need to write a bio to create a good first impression and also to give your readers a reason to follow you, like and share your content…and ultimately convert them to customers.

What are the main elements of a good bio?

The main elements and objectives are:

  • Descriptive and keywords in your profile name
  • Tell your readers what they can expect from your page and what’s in it for them
  • Include a good call to action (CTA). This is basically telling your audience what you want them to do next
  • Include a link to your website or blog
  • Use line breaks and emojis, as this makes it much easier to read

Name field

Make sure your name field is optimised with your name and a searchable keyword. For example, my Instagram name field is ‘Cindy Marketing Consultant.’ It gives my name and what I do.

If you were a hairdresser, you could put your name and then ‘hairdresser’ or ‘hair salon.’

This helps with searches that people make.

Highlight your skills

Tell your audience what you do. Keep it concise and to the point. Depending on what you do, you can be creative with this, as well as saying what you do on the tin.

If you were a Social Media Manager, you might put something like..

  • Social Media Management
    Helping beauty, wellness and skincare businesses grow

Or if you do something specific in that field…

  • Social Media Management made easy
  • Videography & photography

Some people include where they are based.

Use relevant keywords

Some people also use keywords in their bio. It won’t necessarily improve your searchability on Instagram, as searches tend to concentrate on your name and username, but it can help you connect with your followers and helps you get across what you do.

Keywords could include your values and interests and those of your target audience, so you attract them into your feed.

If you were a business selling nutrition, for example, you could include keywords such as ‘wellness,’ ‘nutrition,’ ‘self-care’ etc. You get the idea.

Drive traffic to your website

Your Call to Action or CTA is what drives traffic from your Instagram bio to your website or blog, event page, YouTube channel or online store. You are telling people what to do next. As well as using your CTA to point your audience to your website or whatever, you can also tell them to DM you, like, share or you’re your post for later.

The downside with Instagram is that you can only have one link in your bio. However, with apps like Canva, or Later, you can turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page and drive traffic to everything, with just one link. It’s like having a website built into your profile that every post can be sent to – then your audience has the choice of which option to go to. These apps are free to use and can really help with engagement. You just put a note on your individual posts – for example, if you are posting about products you sell on your website, you can finish your post with ‘Link in bio,’ which encourages your audience to look at your bio and click on the link.

Contact details

You can also add your email address, telephone number and the actual physical address of your business too. Your contact details don’t take up your character space, so that’s a bonus.

Recap

Once you have your Instagram bio set up, it’s worth asking some of your friends, family, and peers to have a look at it. A good bio will create a fabulous first impression and convince your audience to follow you and engage with your posts. So, you need to:

  • Tell who you are and what you do
  • Use keywords to target your ideal audience
  • Add a link to your website or blog
  • Complete the email and telephone fields so your audience have other ways to contact you

And, above all, show your personality. It’s worth spending time and effort into your bio to get it exactly right. The joy of your bio is that you can change it over time – make sure you review it every couple of months and make adjustments, checking your links work, so it’s always up to date and continually improving.

Hints and tips for Facebook Messenger

Messenger has changed drastically since it was first launched and there are lots of things you can do with it now, that you couldn’t at the start. For example, did you know that, although Facebook messenger is attached to Facebook, you don’t actually have to have a Facebook account to download and use it?

I’ve been looking at the different ways we can use messenger for our small businesses. Although I knew about most of the features, there are some that are new to me! Here are a few hints and tips…

Stay under the radar whilst working

Facebook must be one of the most common distractions to your daily work routine, especially if you work from home. But did you know that you don’t need to have Facebook open to access your messages via messenger?

Go to the website, messenger.com, sign in and there you have it! A phone-like messenger without the distractions of Facebook posts!

Reminders

If you tap the four dots next to the typing field when you’re in a conversation, and then tap ‘reminders,’ you can schedule a time, activity, and location…and send a reminder to anyone you want to include.

Share your location

You can share where you are – your location – in a conversation. Whilst in a conversation, tap the four dots, then tap ‘location’ and hit ‘share live location.’ This is great if you’re meeting the person you’re talking to, and they don’t know the part of town you’re in.

You will need to let messenger have constant access to your location to do this, but you can switch it off at a later stage.

Mute notifications

You can also mute notifications. So, if you’re part of a group chat and the constant ‘pinging’ of new messages gets too much for you, but you don’t want to leave the group entirely, you can just mute the group for certain periods of time…or indefinitely if it is really getting to you!

From your main chat screen, swipe left on the thread and tap the ‘bell’ icon. From here, you can mute notifications for set periods, such as 15 minutes, an hour, 24 hours or indefinitely.

Mark as unread

If you are the kind of person that can easily forget to reply to messages after you’ve read them, then the ‘mark as unread’ feature is just the thing.

Swipe from the right on a message and tap the three little lines, then tap the ‘mark as unread’ option. The thread will then show in bold, just like new messages that you haven’t yet read! It will also show a little blue blob as a reminder!

Leave a group

This is a good one – we all get copied into group messages by friends or family, which might be as simple as an invitation to a party. Then you have to suffer your phone ‘pinging’ for days, if not weeks afterwards, with various people having conversations about it.

Once you’ve replied to the message and finished with it, you can leave the group. Simply tap on the group name at the top of the conversation, scroll to the bottom and select ‘leave group.’ The group will be notified that you’ve left, but you can always put a message before you leave to say that you are going to!

Delete old threads

You can delete old conversations once you’ve finished with them, if you like things kept nice and tidy. Just swipe to the left on the message you want to delete and tap the ‘trash’ icon. All done!

Reply to a particular message in group chat

This is one that is really useful. I belong to several group chats for business and often someone posts a message and, by the time I’ve thought of an answer and go to reply, there’s a whole list of other people chatting and very often they’ve gone right off the original message.

If you use the ‘quote and reply’ function, this solves the problem. Simply press and hold the relevant message you want to reply to, then tap the little arrow to reply. The quoted message will then appear above your own reply, making it absolutely clear who and what you’re talking about!

Unsend a message

It can happen that you send a message to the wrong person. But, if you know what to do and act quickly, you can rectify the error before it’s seen. Press and hold the mistaken message, and so long as it was sent less than 10 minutes ago, you will be able to remove it. Trash it for everyone, click confirm and it will be gone. There will be a message to say ‘you removed a message’ but your recipient won’t be able to see what it was. BUT it must be done within 10 minutes, or you can’t change it.

Chat to other businesses

Messenger is great to message any business that has a Facebook presence. You don’t have to pick up the phone to make a hairdressing appointment and risk getting into long conversations. Simply search for the person or business you want and send a message.

You’ll be able to see when they’ve seen it and see when they reply. This saves so much time…and you don’t have to speak to anyone!

Find filtered messages

Messenger has a filter, so if a message comes in that isn’t from one of your contacts, or if a message looks a bit dodgy to Facebook, the messages get filtered into an ‘other’ inbox. This used to be really irritating as it was difficult to find, but now it’s much easier.

Hit the ‘people’ tab at the bottom of the messenger app, and tap on the ‘requests’ icon, which is a speech bubble with three dots in the top right corner. This will show messages you’ve received from random people – for me, usually men in the military, or someone trying to get me to sign up to a dating app (!) But, it does also sometimes put people who are legitimately trying to contact you into that box too, so it’s worth checking.

Pick a colour

This is one I didn’t know about! You have the option to pick a different colour for every conversation you have. Hit the conversation name to go into settings, then tap ‘colour.’ You’ll be able to pick from a range of colours for your chat, which will be seen by both you and whoever you are messaging.

Emoji branding

As well as picking colours, you can also assign an emoji to your chat too. This will change the default ‘thumbs-up’ like button to the emoji you’ve picked.

Sync contacts

If you want to manage your communications efficiently and have all your acquaintances in messenger, you can turn on ‘sync contacts.’ This is a way to find people who aren’t on Facebook, or who aren’t your friend, but use messenger with their phone number.

Hit the icon with your profile picture, then tap ‘people.’ Go to ‘upload contacts’ and click it ‘on.’ Messenger will then continuously scan your contacts list for new numbers and people to message.

Edit photos

Another one I didn’t know I could do in messenger! Yes, you can edit photos…just open an image that has been sent to you in a chat. Hit the pencil icon – then you can type word overlays, add emojis – have a look and give it a go.

Dark mode

This is really handy and protects your eyes. It reduces the glare from your screen when you’re typing in a low light. The settings change the background from bright colours to black and grey, whilst the pictures, messages and any buttons are still in full colour.

How do you do it? Tap your profile pic in the top left corner and access the settings menu. Then toggle the Dark Mode slider. Simple!

Messenger stickers

You can add stickers to your text – I love this and use it a lot. There are loads to choose from and you can download many different types of stickers and graphics. Just click on the smiley icon next to the text box and, under the stickers tab, hit the plus button at the bottom. Then you can choose which stickers you want to download and use.

Polls

You can create a poll in a chat, giving people multiple choice answers to your question. This is quite a new addition, so another one I hadn’t come across before! Just click on the dots symbol and select ‘polls.’ Then you can create your poll and create custom options.

Encrypt chat

It is possible to encrypt a chat. It’s not an automatic option because it disables some of the other chat options.

To encrypt a chat, tap the name of your chat partner at the top of the screen and scroll down to ‘secret conversation.’ Tap ‘ok’ and your conversation will become encrypted from start to finish. You can also set a time limit so that those encrypted messages disappear after a certain amount of time.

Make calls via Wi-Fi

This is the one I use the most. Messenger has a built-in video and voice calling ability. So long as you are connected to Wi-Fi, you get free messenger-to-messenger calls. It also doesn’t matter if one of you uses IOS and the other uses Android. This has been a godsend for me during lockdown to stay connected with my family…and all free of charge.

Voice note

Not everyone likes to talk directly to their contacts, so there is also voice note. This means that you can leave a short voice message instead. It limits you to 1 minute, but you can send as many as you like! Tap on the plus symbol, select ‘voice,’ and hit the red ‘record’ button. Then record your message and send

Messenger has games!

When you do fancy a break, you can access games from messenger. If you’re chatting to someone and both want a little bit of light relief, just hit the plus symbol in the bottom left when you’re in a conversation and tap the ‘games’ icon. There are loads of them…from Snake to PAC-MAN to Tomb Runner…and all without having to leave the app. You can also get involved with group chats too and you can have a competition!

I really hope that you have found this useful and learned something new – I know I did when doing my research! Happy messaging!

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The key elements of digital marketing

Every day the number of people going online increases, and the recent pandemic has seen a huge increase in online shopping. This means that offline marketing won’t be as effective as it was before.

Marketing is all about connecting with your target audience in the right place and at the right time and, in this current time, that means meeting them where you know they’ll be…. online!

So, it makes sense to market your business online – digital marketing.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing covers everything that uses an electronic device or the internet. Whether you’re a small or larger business, you can benefit from using digital channels, such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with your current and potential customers.

Digital marketing helps you to reach a huge audience, which you would not have access to using traditional methods. You can also target prospects who are most likely to buy your products or use your services. It’s also more cost effective that traditional methods, as you can measure your success daily and change things as you see fit.

What are the benefits of digital marketing?

There are lots of benefits to using digital marketing for your business. Here are just a few of them…

Minimal Costs

When you have your own business, you’ll know that marketing and advertising are the most expensive things you need to do. Marketing via digital platforms gives a much more affordable alternative to traditional methods. These methods can be hugely impactful but cost you way less.

For example, you can subscribe to an email marketing subscriber, such as MailChimp, Mailerlite or ConvertKit for little cost (and with MailChimp and Mailerlite, there are free versions when you first start). This will help you reach all the customers on your mailing list by email, quicky and efficiently.

Good return on investment

You get an incredibly good return on your investment with digital marketing. For example, if you run an advertising campaign on a social media platform, it costs much less that traditional marketing and with email marketing, you’ll also get a good return on your investment.

Measurement is easy peasy!

With traditional methods, you must (typically) wait months to evaluate a particular campaign to see how it’s worked. But with a digital campaign, you can find results within a few days… and you’ll know almost immediately if an ad is performing well.

If you sign up to an email subscription platform, their email marketing software will enable you to track the performance of your emails – you’ll know who’s opened them and who hasn’t. You can also find out about conversion rates.

Using Google Analytics helps you measure goals achieved on a website or blog. And Google AdWords manager allows you to monitor the performance of your ads on Google search. So, you’ll know how many people viewed your ads and what the conversion rate is.

Easy to adjust your ads

If you do decide on an ad campaign, if you find that it’s not really performing as well as you hoped, you can adjust it accordingly, or stop it altogether, with just the click of a mouse. The same can be done for changing something within a current ad.

Developing your brand

You can use digital platforms to build your business brand and reputation. For example, a great website, or a blog featuring quality articles, which are useful to your audience. Social Media channels are also fabulous for brand recognition, so long as you post consistently and are very interactive with your audience.

The good thing about social media channels is that they are shareable, which allows you to share articles, blog posts, website, campaigns etc., with your followers.

Absolute targeting

By this, I mean that your campaigns can target the exact audience you want. You can choose potential customers based on their preferences or actions.

For example, if you have an email subscription set up with a free lead magnet to entice customers in, such as an e-book, you can tailor emails to that customer totally based on what they asked for. You know they’re interested in the subject matter of your e-book, so are there other digital or physical products that they might also be interested in?

I don’t mean make your emails to customers all about selling…but you know for future reference, once you have given quality information and once you know your email subscribers a bit more, you know that they’ll be more open to similar products or services.

Global darling!

If your business is online, it’s simple – you’ve gone global darling! The internet is global, available 24/7, to billions of people. Marketing on your digital platforms opens you up to customers from all over the world.

Conclusion

With traditional marketing, you may have put an ad in a local paper or on a billboard. This will reach a large audience, but you will be limited to demographics, (where the magazine is distributed, or where the billboard is located). With digital marketing, you can identify and target a specific audience and in turn, send highly converting marketing messages.

Digital marketing helps you to conduct the necessary research to identify your buyer persona, and helps you to understand your target audience, which means you can define your marketing strategy and reach those prospects that are most likely to buy from you.

If you’d like more regular marketing tips delivered to your inbox, and would like a free marketing strategy workbook, please click on the link below to subscribe to my email list.

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Using Facebook to grow your email list

Growing your email list is one of the best ways to grow your business. I know that most of us use social media, and that is one of the ways to promote your email list. In this blog, I’m going to talk specifically about growing your email list on Facebook.

Before you start

Before you begin to promote your email list, I would suggest that you create an engaging incentive. Most of us spend a large percentage of our time every day reading and answering our emails, so people don’t want to be sent an email, just for the sake of it. They want to be sent an email for a reason. One of the best reasons you can give is to have an exciting and engaging lead magnet that provides tons of value and therefore will encourage people to join your email list.

Incentives could be:

  • A discount code
  • An e-book
  • A workbook
  • A free course
  • A quiz

Whatever you choose, it will help you get more subscribers than if you just asked them to sign up for your newsletter. Everyone loves a freebie, and if that freebie delivers value, then even better.   

Once you have your lead magnet sorted you are ready to promote your email list. Facebook is a great place to do this, so here are a few ideas to help that promotion along.

Create a new Facebook page cover

This sounds obvious, but so many people don’t do this. If you have a lead magnet to promote, create a Facebook cover image to promote it. I use Canva, which is a fabulous site which gives free templates for this kind of thing and it’s super easy to use…best of all, the templates look very professional.

Once you have your new cover created and on your page, make sure you update the button on your page to link through to your lead magnet landing page. This just makes it easier for your visitors to navigate and they don’t have to go searching for the relevant link.   

Create a post

You can also create posts in Canva, so spend a bit of time creating a promotional post or graphic to promote your lead magnet. In fact, it’s a good idea to make several, with different captions – make sure that the captions talk about the pain point or problem that your lead magnet will solve. For example, my lead magnet now is a free marketing workbook, which takes people through setting up their marketing plan, step by step. It’s something I know that some small businesses struggle with, and as I help people with their marketing, it made sense to create this to help them out.

Once you start posting your promotional posts, you will soon see which caption works best and you could use it for future ad campaigns.

As well as a promotional post, you can also create posts that simply invites people to join your email list. Don’t forget to tell your visitors how your newsletter or emails will help them – what benefits you provide and the value they will get from it.  

Use your About section

Your Facebook page has an About section, so ensure that you are using this to its best advantage. Once you have your lead magnet, you can include it in your About section, telling visitors what it is and how it helps them, with a CTA (call to action) to invite people to join your email list.

Join Facebook groups

You will know who your target market is and, if you have a business page, probably already belong to groups where they are members. If not, search for groups where they are likely to be and join. It can be tempting to join Facebook groups that are full of people who do similar things to you, and as these groups and networking in them, can take quite a bit of time, I wouldn’t advise being in too many of them!

The only way you’ll know if a group is right for you is to join and network. Join in tasks and fun competitions or silly posts. Engage in all the business posts and keep your eyes peeled for questions members might ask that you can answer and show that you are helpful and knowledgeable about your subject. Obviously, you give this information away for free! People are more likely to respect and build trust with you if they can see that you give value and are genuine … not just doing a sales pitch.

If you have a business page, you will also have a personal profile on Facebook. So, make sure that you have your work information on there, so people can click through and follow you, or have your website address link, so people can check out what you do…and have another opportunity to join your email list.

Run and ad campaign on Facebook

You can also run an ad campaign to grow your email list. The benefits of an ad campaign are that you can directly target your ideal customer, so you know you are reaching the right people.

There are two types of ad campaign…a conversions campaign or a leads campaign. If you choose a conversions campaign, you can measure how your ad is performing, and if you have the Facebook Pixel on your website, you can measure which of your ads ends up with people signing up to your email list.  

A leads campaign will simply collect email addresses on a landing page on Facebook. You will most likely generate more volume with a leads campaign, but you’ll get a higher quality of lead with a conversion campaign. You won’t know what works best for you until you try both.

Promote your blog

If you have a blog, then Facebook is the ideal place to promote your blog articles. Make sure that your blog post has a call to action to sign up to your email list or newsletter.

  • You can simply post a link to your blog in a Facebook post.
  • You can put a link to your blog post in a Facebook group, if you’re answering a question about something you’ve written about.
  • You can also create a promotional graphic, which includes your blog title on it and include a link in the caption.

If you produce evergreen blog content, re-share some of your older content every couple of months as you will pick up new followers from them too.

Run a contest

Running a contest on Facebook can really boost your engagement rate and can also help you with new followers. You give away a simple prize that is related to whatever you do. There are loads of different types of contests, such as:

  • Like a post to win
  • Comment on a post to win
  • Like and comment to win
  • Caption competition
  • Fill in the blank competition
  • Photo contest

The list is endless, so you can be creative here. The prize can be given by either doing a draw – you put all the names of the people who have liked, comments etc., into a draw to win. Then you do the draw ‘live’ on Facebook and can create some hype and a real buzz around it.

You could also give everyone a prize. For example, if you’re a service-based business, you could pull together a valuable checklist that helps do a particular thing. Everyone who enters, gets the PDF with a link to subscribe to your email list.

It’s up to you how you host your contest.

If you have a website…

If you have a website with a subscribe button, when someone signs up for your email list, redirect them to a thank you page with social media share buttons. Invite your new subscribers to share the valuable lead magnet they’ve received with their friends and family.  

Finally…

Don’t forget…

…to track the traffic that comes from your Facebook page to your website or to your email list. Then you will know what works and what doesn’t. If you use Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see what traffic is coming from Facebook. This is so valuable as you can see what kind of posts are the most popular and what drives people to sign up to your email list.

Good luck and if you need help setting up a lead magnet and email sequences, get in touch and I can help.

And, if you would like to join my email list and have monthly marketing tips delivered to your inbox, click on the link below. You will also receive a free workbook, which guides you the marketing strategy process from identifying your target market to a marketing action plan.   

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A peek into the mind of an online shopper

Online shopping has never been more popular, and not just amongst the younger generation. Lockdown was a contributing factor to more people starting to shop online and it seems that it is continuing. More online stores are opening, which will mean that competition to stand out is fierce…and online marketplaces help build trust with customers and give a more convenient way to buy from home, on your phone.

Why do people shop online? Here are a few reasons…

Wide variety of products

Online shoppers have access to absolutely anything they want to buy, whereas if they visit a store, they are limited to what that particular store sells and must visit several different stores to get everything they want. Online shopping puts every kind of store at your fingertips – it’s easy to browse and find what you want and easy to find the latest trends or fashions.

It’s convenient

You don’t have to go out, get stuck in traffic, find a parking space, or drag your children round the shops. You don’t have to worry about fitting it in around your job, rushing to catch the shops before they close. You can shop online 24/7 …and even shop in your PJs if you want to. It’s less stressful and often cheaper, as you can compare stores and prices much more easily.

Lower prices

It’s not just about loads of options when you shop online, but often you can find things you want at a much lower price than in stores. Online shops don’t have the overheads of a physical store.

You can also often find coupons or discounts online as this is a tactic used to rise above competitors. And several online stores operate within a cashback regime, so this is also attractive to buyers.

No sales pitch

When you visit a physical store, you are often pounced on by assistants, asking if you need help or trying to get you to buy something you didn’t want. If something isn’t available, you’ll often be tempted to try something else. Many a time, I’ve gone to a specific store to buy a particular dress, only to find it’s not in stock, or they don’t have the colour I want. But do I leave the store empty handed? Very rarely! I have bought things I don’t really want, have been persuaded that a different colour will really suit me by the assistant and know it’s not really for me, but often just get caught up in the moment and buy anyway.

Plain packaging

When you shop online, you don’t have to worry about what you buy – if you want to buy some really sexy underwear or something a bit more intimate for the bedroom, buying online means you can choose for it to be delivered in plain packaging. You don’t have to be embarrassed at the checkout. You can also browse everything you want to look at, read the descriptions and decide which item you want, without an assistant hovering. And you can take your time to choose.

No crowds and no queues

This is an obvious one – I absolutely hate crowded shopping centres, so online shopping suits me as I don’t have to queue to buy something, nor do I have to feel claustrophobic in crowds.

Baskets and checkout

The thing I really like about online shopping is the quick and easy checkout process. I just add what I want to my basket, and then checkout at my leisure. It’s usually quick and simple – you can also choose which delivery option you want and can often get next day delivery. There are also lots of local shops who do free delivery, which is an added bonus.

Customer reviews

I like to check out what other people think about a product before I buy it and online shopping makes this a cinch. Information and product descriptions are usually clear – you know if the product you are buying is environmentally friendly, and you can see what other buyers think of the product before you buy.

The stats

In 2021, it is estimated that 2.14 billion people worldwide will purchase goods online (Statista). And that global ecommerce sales are forecast at over four trillion dollars. As well as this, projections are that ecommerce sales globally are going to grow to 6.4 trillion by 2024.

According to Thinkwithgoogle, 2018, 63% of shopping occasions begin online. This means that, no matter whether a product is bought online or at a physical store, the customer journey began online, with a search. This just goes to show that if you have an online business, it makes sense to ensure that the customer experience is first class. Understanding how your target audience searches for products you sell can help you create a unique customer experience.

It goes without saying that the recent and ongoing pandemic has had a massive impact across the globe regarding online shopping. Strict lockdown has seen online shopping skyrocket – especially grocery shopping.

Conclusion

Online shopping is set to evolve further as time goes on. If businesses want to survive, they must get online to keep up with the latest trends.

A particular plus for me regarding online shopping is that I know that I’m buying something that hasn’t been picked up, tried on or handled by loads of different people. However, having said that, there is still something exciting about wandering around the shops and finding something you never knew you wanted! And, being a huge stationery fan, I love to browse a stationery aisle…and don’t get the same buzz online.

What are your thoughts on online shopping? Do you prefer it, or do you like to have a wander and a browse in a physical store?

5 reasons why it’s important to share your story

The past couple of years have been tough. The pandemic saw, and is still seeing, so many businesses struggling to keep going, and people having to be at home, so mental health issues have rocketed. Whether this applies to you or not, we are all struggling with one thing or another. But there aren’t many people who stand up and speak about their struggles.

I think it’s because of that age-old thing of ‘stiff upper lip’ – you just don’t talk about it. It could be that we are afraid of being judged, or afraid of rejection…or just simply feel ashamed.

However, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good story, be it personal, emotional, funny, or otherwise. I loved listening to my dad tell me stories of when he was a young soldier in World War II – he used to tell us more about the funny side when we were young, but as we grew up, we heard some of the harder side of his experiences. Telling a story helps our audience to put themselves in our shoes – it appeals to our emotions and our sense of empathy.

We all know about pitching our products and we can do that until we’re blue in the face, but your audience won’t really care unless you give them a good reason to listen. Placing your product at the centre of a story, showing them how it can benefit their lives, not only helps your audience understand more about your product, but it also gives you an extra layer of emotion that makes you stand out more on social media.

Social Media

Most of us are on our phones or devices the minute we wake up, checking messages, emails or just scrolling through posts. It’s often the first thing we do when we wake up and the last thing we do before we go to bed. For those of us in business, our social media account posts are carefully planned and crafted to appeal to our target audience. And even that can be daunting – we worry whether our posts are good enough – will they appeal to the right people? Will people think that they’re rubbish? We compare ourselves to others and fear and doubt can even creep in with our businesses.

We also tend to only share the good things, such as cheery pictures of nights out, a lovely meal, family time – all smiling, date night with our partners etc. etc. But we don’t share our back stories – the stories that make us, US!

This, along with everyone else, gives out a message that we are only allowed to share the good things; things that go well. Having said that, I have noticed that some people are starting to share some of the more private parts of their lives. Now, I’m not saying go out there and share every intimate detail of your life – not at all. But share things that can help your audience.

Share a problem that you’ve solved, share that you’re feeling crap today, or that you feel you’re not doing a good job on something. Sharing this kind of information makes you real…people can empathise – some will have had the same experience, and it can help to build more meaningful relationships.

Telling your story is showing the authentic you – an essential part of who you are.

5 reasons why we need storytelling

  • You CONNECT with your audience. You’ll find people who have been through the same thing or feel the same way. You’ll find those who totally get where you’re coming from and who you are. They will share their experiences with you and so it’s a way to start building trust with your audience. When you share your stories, it pushes you to step outside of your comfort zones and to reflect on where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.
  • Sharing your story defines your identity to your audience. Sharing your interests, be it political, emotional, funny, or serious issues, it shows you. You can also share your hobbies, as you may find others that have the same interests as you.
  • By sharing your own stories, you are helping others to have the space to share theirs. For example, if you share a particularly painful experience, such as miscarriage or mental illness, you’re letting others know that this is safe place to talk about it, that you understand and that there is space for healing. You’ll be helping others by telling your story.
  • Sharing a story also heightens the awareness of that subject. It might be something as simple as sharing your weight loss journey, or how you came back from an addiction or homelessness. These things are powerful, and if you can show how you overcame these issues, you are going to be helping someone who is still going through that same thing, and give them hope for their future. This also starts to create a community of likeminded people, who will feel less alone with their problems, and feel they have someone they can share with.
  • This can also be applied to business. Sharing a story of how a particular product helped you to overcome your problems. For example, if you sell weight loss products that you have used yourself and had success with, tell your story. If you have a product that has changed your life in some way, shout about it and how it helped. If you’ve used a business to provide a service that has seriously changed the way you do business, or has helped you get more clients, talk about it. If you provide that service and have testimonials that show that, share them as well as your story.   

Every single person in the world has a story to tell. It might be a personal story; it might be a business story. But if you get out there and tell it, you’ll be surprised at how much engagement you will get.

If you love stories, read one of my stories about how a business assignment to India changed my life. And if you’ve written a story about an aspect in your life, I’d love to hear about it.