Do’s and Don’ts of Running Online Ads for Your Business

As more and more people reach for Google instead of the phone book, online ads are becoming the best way to get your business in front of the right people. Solutions such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords put your ads where people are hanging out. If done correctly, these platforms can open up an entirely new market of new and existing customers. To get started, here are the do’s and don’ts of running online ads for your business.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Running Online Ads for Your Business

1. If you’re selling an offer, don’t send users straight to your home page.

This is the number one reason why online ads fail. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer: you see an ad for a discounted massage. Great! I’ve got my credit card out and I’m ready to buy. But when I click the ad, I’m simply sent to the business’ home page. Wait, where is the offer that I just clicked on? Where can I buy the very thing I wanted?

If your offer isn’t easily claimable, if you require excessive work from your customers to find the offer, chances are you’re going to lose them.

2. Do send customers to a dedicated landing page that allows them to buy right away.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 15.19.17Now imagine you’re a customer who has just clicked on the ad for a discounted massage. Instead of having to navigate a business’ website, you can simply enter your credit card information and be on your way.


3. Do use ads to find your target customer.

One of the best things about online ads is how highly customizable they are. Only looking to reach women, age 35-55 within 25 miles of your business who have visited your website before? Or do you want men, age 21-35 who have never visited your website before? Online ads are always targeted so you’re never wasting your budget showing ads to people who would never make a purchase.

4. Don’t think online advertising has to be crazy expensive.

A lot of businesses rule out online advertising like Facebook Ads or Google Ads from the get-go because they believe that it is simply out of their budget. While it’s true that you have to set some funds aside for online ads, it doesn’t have to be wildly expensive. We typically see clients who spend as little as a few hundred dollars a month. If you’re coming across consultants or agencies that ask upwards of a few thousand dollars, you may be headed down the wrong track.

5. But do set aside an advertising budget.

Online advertising shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg but it will cost you. This is okay. You should think of online ads as an investment (brand recognition of seeing your business name over and over will bode well for the future). If that’s what you’re looking for, perhaps online advertising isn’t the best fit for you right now. Instead, consider less expensive alternatives like email marketing, Facebook posting and boosting or blogging.

6. Do measure success in terms of ROI – return on investment.

Sure you can quantify the success of an ad by how many claims, purchases, or new customers it brought it. But what’s even more effective is measuring your income as compared to your expenses. How much are you spending on ads per week, per month, per quarter, per year and how much is it bringing back to you? If you find that you’re constantly spending more than you’re earning, perhaps it’s time to rethink your strategy.

7. Don’t try to manage it all on your own.

While platforms like Facebook for Business and Google AdWords Express make it a lot easier to manage your ads, they’re still incredibly complex and time-consuming. For example, Facebook ads allow you to A/B test different graphics for one ad, but how do you know which graphics to choose? How do you know how much money to put behind each ad, who to show it to, and when? And how can you keep track of it all as time goes on?

The hardest part about online advertising is often making sure you’re not wasting your money. Finding a good partner to help define and reach your online advertising goals will make all the difference.

Interested in running Facebook Ads or Google Ads for your business? Need help optimizing your ads and your budget? Get in touch with us here.



5 Creative Email Marketing Campaigns

I always appreciate when a business sends me a creative and innovative email. It shows that they are professional and put together. Most importantly, it shows that they care about the customer experience and me as a customer.

But there are times when I will delete a business email without even opening it simply because I get so much email that it feels like a chore. In fact, in 2013 over 120 billion emails were sent every day. So in a sea of marketing materials, how do you ensure that your emails stand out? How do you build trust with your customers rather than dissolve it?

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5 Creative Email Marketing Campaigns

1. Refer a Friend

When we’re building a campaign for our clients, we always think about what will excite and delight their customers – while at the same time meeting the business’ needs.

Refer a friend campaigns are designed to do both. Not only can you give your customers a special offer but you can get them to bring new customers (i.e. their friends) with them. Plus, what was once a solo experience can now be a fun, group activity that they can share.

2. Build Anticipation

Screenshot 2015-01-12 15.52.53During the holidays, I received this campaign from the perfume company, Jo Malone. Each day they sent me a new offer and each day I eagerly anticipated their email.


Not only did I think of them when buying gifts for friends and family, but I left my inbox feeling delighted and excited for the next one.

Anticipation can go a long way if you know how to market it just the right way.

3. Top 10 List

adventura_blog_postWe built this fun campaign for Adventura, a ropes course and recreation park. Instead of always trying to sell products and offers, we shared a fun, friendly piece of content that looks nice and brings value to the customer.

As a small business owner, you have the advantage of knowing your industry really, really well. Spa owners, for example, know the best treatments for chilly winter months. Instead of simply trying to convert customers to buy, try taking one step back and simply engaging and building trust with your customers.

4. Birthday Coupon

Screenshot 2015-01-12 16.04.54My birthday was earlier this month and my local beauty salon, sent me this email for a free nail polish. Not only am I excited about my complementary gift, but I also know that I will always think of this business when it comes to buying beauty products.

While other businesses may be less expensive or offer better products, Peninsula Beauty will always be my first choice because they showed they cared.


5. Claim vs. Buy Now

FB_tour_2_buttonsDepending on how you run your business, you may send discount that allow customers to claim the offer or buy it right on the spot. We’ve found that for businesses who have customers that like to come in and make additional purchases, “claim now” works the best.


But for those that want to motivate customers to act quickly, “Buy now” can be an especially enticing call-to-action. And combined with an easy checkout process, “Buy now” can create a positive and trustworthy customer experience that helps build your brand.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 15.19.17


When It Comes to Online Marketing, Don’t Be Afraid to Think Outside the Box

Tried and trued marketing emails are always good to have in your back pocket. But when you have the right resources, consider trying something new. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and create an email that they look forward to, not one that gets dumped in the trash.



A Facebook Case Study: How to Get Purchases (Not Just Likes) on Facebook

Selling to your customers and fans via Facebook is a tricky process. Most people are there to socialize with their friends, share photos and stories, write comments and messages – not buy from a business.

But if executed correctly, your business can become a seamless if not invited part of the everyday Facebook experience. By simply remembering how your posts and ads will appear in the context of Facebook, you can get your fans buying in no time.

To share some of the best Facebook marketing strategies, let’s take a look at some good – and bad – examples of businesses on Facebook.

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A Facebook Case Study: How to Get Purchases (Not Just Likes) on Facebook

These two Facebook posts are similar in many ways: they’re visually appealing, they’re selling to customers on the web.

But there is one major difference between the two – the one on the left is not optimized for purchases while the one on the right is.


So what’s the problem with the first Facebook post?


This post is missing 3 critical components:

1. Cohesive visual style and easy to read text.

This looks pretty professional but there’s a lot of text and I’m bored before I even get to the bottom. And once I do get there, it’s pretty hard to read.

2. A clear call-to-action – what am I supposed to do once I’m done reading this?

Alright I’ve read it all and it looks pretty interesting. What do you want me to do? Share this with my friends? Like the post? Comment?

3. A clear way to get the offer – how am I supposed to buy it?

So I’ve read it through and decided I want to make a purchase – but how? I see a small phone number in the bottom – but if I call, what do I say? Am I booking an appointment or just purchasing the package? What if I want to explore other packages? Where are you located?

If you’re not careful, you’re customers will channel all their energy into the wrong action – liking and commenting – when the true goal is purchases.

On the other hand, the second Facebook makes it much easier for me to make a purchase.

Why is the second Facebook post successful?

Screenshot 2015-01-05 15.16.50

1. It’s easy to read and clear.

The text is well laid out, it’s colorful, and hints at what kind of product this is even at a quick glance (a beauty service).

2. I know what I’m supposed to do – make a purchase.

I immediately see a price tag and that it’s for a special offer so I know the point of this post is to make me a deal.

3. It’s crystal clear how I can make the purchase – either call or click.

Whether I’m more comfortable on the phone or online, I can buy without question.

The differences between the two Facebook posts are subtle and can be easily overlooked. The first post covers most if not all of the bases. But it’s with the second post that customers and users can interact with the post as it should be – a business advertisement. By simply adding and tweaking a few key concepts, you can turn a social network into a revenue-focused, high-performing marketing platform.



How to Write Email Newsletters Your Customers Will Actually Want to Read

I have a love-hate relationship with my email. On the one hand, it keeps me in touch with my friends and family, alerts me of sales and specials from my favorite businesses, and at the best of times, is the messenger of great news.

On the other hand, emails can be draining, constantly demanding my attention. When I get a newsletter from a business, for example, it’s usually a low priority on my list. If I’m a regular  customer or have always found their content useful, I’m excited and eager to open.

But if they’ve “struck out” one too many times, I hit “delete” without even opening.

So what can you do to make sure your emails stay out of the trash? How can you write newsletters that brighten your customers day?

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How to Write Email Newsletters Your Customers Will Actually Want to Read

1. Don’t always sell.

As a business, your goal is to sell. Many of your newsletters can and should be selling your services but you should also incorporate content that has no ties to selling – it is simply there to entertain and reinforce your brand.

For example, our creative team built this fun newsletter for a client titled “The Adventura Summer Bucket List”.



2. Consistency and quality.

Once you’ve gotten a customer’s email, it’s up to you to prove your worth. In order to keep your seat at the table, you must share good content regularly. What defines good content? What do we consider regularly?

We see the best results with clients who send email newsletters at least twice a month. This cadence keeps the business relevant but doesn’t overwhelm customers with information they don’t need all the time.

As for good content, this varies from business to business. Different customers judge quality differently. But the one defining characteristic of good content is value – are you sharing information that gives something to your customers? Have you hit the sweet spot between what you as a business owner need and what the customer needs?

3. Visual style is more than just an added bonus.

Today I got an email from a business that I had never heard before. They were offering me exclusive access to a marketing webinar at a discounted price.

Fortunately, my spam folder caught the email before it was routed to my main inbox. When I went to delete the email, I saw that it was written in plain text – no special branding that I recognized, no logos, no images, nothing. Combined with the fact they were trying to sell my something, this immediately triggered a red flag in my mind and I deleted it fully knowing it was spam.

How you style your emails – logos, graphics, text, fonts – is the impression you leave with your customers. Putting effort into the visual component of your newsletters makes your content and your brand feel professional and trustworthy – and separates you from spam emails.

When executed well, email marketing is an affordable and efficient way for businesses to engage existing customers. With a digital point of contact, you can build great relationships, turning one time visitors into loyal customers.



How to Optimize Your Checkout Process to Get the Sale

It’s one thing to get a customer to your website – it’s another thing to convert them.

It turns out that you can have millions of views, millions of clicks and spend millions of dollars on advertising and consultants – but if you’re checkout process is faulty and confusing, you can still lose the sale at the end of the day.

So what can you do to get that sale at the end of the road?

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How to Optimize Your Checkout Process to Get the Sale

1. Don’t ask for more information than you really need.

Because today’s online shopper has such a short attention span, it’s important to convert them efficiently and effectively before they have a chance to get distracted and leave your page.

If you ask for 10 different pieces of information that would be helpful but aren’t really necessary suddenly your customer is tasked with a lot of work. They have to consider whether or not they’re really comfortable giving you their address or their home phone number. This is especially important if you’re trying to convert new customers who are less familiar with your business and the most at risk to abandon the sale if you’re too invasive.

2. Don’t require a custom login and password for your site.

If I had a dollar for every website I ditched because they required me to create a login and password…well, I’d have a lot of dollars.

While it might be easier and more beneficial for the business to have their own registration system, it’s 10x harder for the customer. Not only do I have to take the time to fill out a registration form, but I also have to remember my information every time I want to get back in touch.

If I’m visiting the business for the first time and don’t have much loyalty, I’m much more likely to just try and find another similar business that is easier to work with.

Keeping the barriers to purchasing low by only asking for a name, email and credit card information is an effective way to make sure you don’t lose that sale.

3. Have an online purchasing and/or booking system.

I’ve been due for a dentist appointment for almost 3 months now. Strangely enough, I really enjoy going to the dentist. But I haven’t made an appointment because I’d have to call to book it.

I know, I know this sounds pretty silly. I’ve been putting off going to the dentist because I have to get on the phone and talk to someone. But I’m always busy during their working hours and in this day and age of digital everything, I’m much more comfortable making arrangements over the internet than I am in person.

Many of today’s savvy shoppers have the same mentality – calling someone runs the risk of taking a lot more time and effort. What if they’re not there and you have to call back again later? What if you spend those 15 minutes calling only to find out they don’t have what you’re looking for?

Checking out someone’s website or online booking system, however, can take less than 5 minutes. And if I like what I see and they have a way for me to take the next steps right there, I certainly won’t hesitate to do so.

Nobody wants to invest time and money into their marketing efforts only to watch the fruits of their labor disappear. This is why it’s so critically important to be aware of your business from the point of view of the customer. You can have the best products or services in the world but if the experience isn’t enjoyable and effortless, if they have to exert more effort than necessary to get to those products and services, than there’s a good chance they’ll leave without a second thought.

Your customers are constantly asking themselves, “Is this worth my time? Will this solve the problem I have before me?” In today’s world of hyper-competitive business, you can’t afford to give them a reason to say no.