7 Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Facebook Advertising This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest events in the commercial calendar. Last year’s Valentine’s Day sales totaled $18 billion dollars, and this year is expected to be similar. But what’s the best way to ensure you get your share of the pie? Well, the first step is to reach the largest possible audience, and advertising with Facebook is an easy way to that. Facebook sees over 1 billion unique users every day; that’s about 13% of the population of the planet. With that kind of potential reach, all that’s left for you to worry about, is how you’re going to craft an effective campaign to convert them. So without further ado, here are 7 Do’s and Don’ts to get your Valentine’s Day strategy started on the right foot.

Don’t Delay!

You don’t have to wait until the week before Valentine’s Day to begin your campaign. If you start early, you can beat the competition, and reach the customer before they buy from anyone else.

If you’re running your ads well in advance of the big day, you will want to encourage your customers to take action now by offering timed deals.  It doesn’t have to be much, just a little push to encourage them to act now instead of putting it off. You could offer a coupon, free shipping, or a bonus gift, just to make sure the expiration date of your special offer is crystal clear.

Target Your Ads

Facebook provides you with a multitude of ways to make sure your ads are seen by the right people. There are some essential ways you should be targeting your ads during the lead up to the big day.

The specifics will vary depending on your ad, but for this example, let’s say we’re talking about an ad about a special chocolate hamper aimed at the ‘lady in your life’. First, you want to target men who are currently in a relationship (information helpfully provided to Facebook by the user). Then, depending on your product, you might choose to narrow it further by going for a specific age group, interest area, or geographic location.

Try to build a picture of an ideal customer avatar, and build your ad audience around that.

Don’t Ignore Singles

While everyone else is spending their time going after people in relationships, it’s the perfect time for you to turn your attention to the singles. It can be hard to be single on Valentine’s day, so a campaign of self-love that celebrates unashamedly treating yourself, will win you conversions without the fierce competition that comes with marketing to couples.

Don’t Use a Cheesy Corporate Hashtag

Hashtags can be a great way to promote interaction, and drive social proof, but if you’re going to try a hashtag campaign on Valentine’s Day, you have to be careful. It’s a very personal day, and let’s face it, marketing hashtags aren’t romantic.

However, if you’re targeting singles using the “self-love” approach, then I would encourage you to use all the hashtags you want. Your goal is to create the feeling that it’s okay to treat yourself, and make it a fun event — a hashtag can help.

Don’t feel the need to reach for a cheesy cliche or hashtag if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. Here is how to improve your copy with compelling passion points instead.

Use a Variety of Ad Types

Facebook offers several different ad templates: they’re all designed to achieve different things, and appeal to different people.

If you’re running a large campaign it will be more effective to display your ad to the user in multiple formats, rather than the same one every time. Not all of Facebook’s ad types are appropriate to every campaign. For example, lead ads aren’t going to do much for your Valentine’s day sales. But with a little creative tweaking, you can incorporate videos, carousels, and other interesting visual formats into your strategy.

Appeal to Last-Minute Shoppers

Everyone forgets important dates sometimes — we live in a busy world, and it’s easy to forget to pick up a gift.

As the day gets closer, the customer is left with fewer and fewer options; so if you offer next day, or same day delivery, you could pick up some of the stragglers with your ads. You should also consider adding vouchers or digital products to the mix that people can immediately download, send on, and use. It’s the ideal gift format for the busy person who wants to give something meaningful.

Find a Niche For Your Niche!

Some things are easier to market on Valentine’s Day than others, but even if you’re not selling roses, that doesn’t mean you can’t appeal to the Valentine’s spirit to boost your sales.

For example — we love our pets, so Valentine’s day is a great time to sell dog treats too with some #doggylove spirit. This approach can be applied to all sorts of things —  just keep the tone lighthearted so people don’t think you’re crazy.

If you successfully target an untapped niche you get to reap all the benefits of selling to an audience that your competition might be overlooking. You’re not fighting to be heard, and your audience will appreciate a fresh take after being flooded with generic ads for weeks.

Image credit: Aganyga via Pixabay

Top photo credit: Libreshot

If you’re not really on board with this holiday, you could also find success by standing out from the crowd with some “counter-Valentine’s” marketing too. Whatever your approach is, you’re sure to fall in love with Facebook advertising this Valentine’s day!

entrepreneur hacks Victoria GreenAuthor: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.  On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on building great websites (among other things). Big fan of email marketing and targeted social media.

How To Create A Content Marketing Strategy That Rocks

content marketing template

What Is Content Marketing Strategy?

Content is what you write and what you share on your websites, social media, white papers, ebooks, articles and other valuable information. A content marketing strategy is using content to attract your market, build their trust, and create advocates who engage with and share your brand. This highly effective approach is how social media works for businesses globally. If you’ve ever wondered what the secret sauce to social media marketing is, it’s having an irresistible content marketing (also known as inbound marketing) strategy. By the time you’ve finished reading this blog you will know the key elements of a great content marketing strategy, the type of content you’ll want to generate, and the  plan for distributing your content.

Note: For this blog post, we reference a brand who is teaching parents of non-neurotypical (on the autism spectrum) with examples of how to craft the elements of their content marketing plan.

Key Elements Of A Great Content Marketing Strategy

1. Define Your Objective: First you must know what you want your content to do for you. If you want your readers to take an action, your content must naturally cause that reaction. If you want more visibility, create content that people absolutely love sharing. If you want to sell, make sure you have content that builds their trust, your credibility, is in context, speaks to them and has a clear call to action.

2. Create Your Persona/Avatar: You want to draw in visibility but for whom? For this, we want to explore deeper the persona of your target audience. Creating a persona is far more than demographics and psychographics. Yes, you need to know how old they are, how many kids they have, what their occupation is, etc. Then get into the story of who your persona. Think of a specific person. You may even want to give him or her a name like Patty Parent. For example, if you have a business that provides specific trainings for parenting kids who are not neurotypical, your persona might be a mother of a child age 6-10 who is non-neurotypical and is concerned about unsupportive schools. Is your persona in a combined household with kids with and without autism? Is it just a single parent? By describing in detail the day in the life of a persona for each target audience, you will have a powerful guide to directing your message and copy. The idea is to go deeper into what parts of your persona’s lives your work could possibly affect.

3. Define the Crave: Once you know who your persona is, what their preferences are, their challenges, their hobbies, buying habits, routines, lifestyle, etc. you are ready to identify what they are craving. Most entrepreneurs miss addressing the crave. Instead, these brands talk about the problems they solve for clients and their approach and methodology. Sharing about how you work and the challenges and solutions may leave you wondering why prospective clients are not responding. This is because you are only half way through to your mesmerizing message. Thus, you still have the next half of the journey to developing a rocking content marketing strategy.

When you know the essence of what is most concerning to your persona and what they deeply desire, you have the opportunity to compel and keep them loyal to you. In other words, if you clearly define their values (what is important to them) and their desires and then you can directly address that in your messaging so that “they get you get them.” When they feel like your brand knows their values and desires, you create an emotional connection. Essentially and imperatively, you are then speaking their language. You create the “how did you know that I felt that way” or “I feel heard and understood” effect.

For example, is your persona overwhelmed and stressed from their fear of raising a child who doesn’t behave, think or have the same needs like other children? What are they missing (from their point of view)? Do they wish they had more skills or patience or help? Do they feel helpless, alone or inadequate? These are the valuable questions you want to answer. Address their stress, their frustration, or maybe their feelings of self-worth. These factors will be weaved into your messaging within your content marketing strategy.In your messaging not only will you provide a solution (even if it is not immediate), you will demonstrate to the consumer that you are still there for support because you reveal to them how much you understand them and By sharing about the You may also show that you have solutions for a wide range of people with the same problem.

4. Define Value (Emotion Oriented Results) They Want Delivered: A great content marketing strategy includes content that answers the most important question a brand MUST ask, “why do they care about your product and it’s feature?” Simply sharing features is the most common mistake businesses make when communicating what they do.More often than not, business copy refers to services and their features. Yes, your prospective clients will need to know you offer courses with modules that cover certain topics. But WHY do they want this and/or what will they accomplish as a result of taking such course or using your product? Will they be entertained, learn how to be more efficient, make more money, have a skill to get them a job, etc. Keep asking why would they want this to each product/service and feature you offer, you’ll get to the emotional benefit.

In our example, if you have a set of free educational courses for parents, you  must address FIRST why would they take their time to watch it. Yes, they will learn about parenting non-neurotypcial children. But, why would they want learn about parenting? Because they want to raise children to reach their highest potential. Why wouldn’t they already be able do that? Because when they gain the skills and knowledge, they will have more options so they can spend less money, grow their patience through greater awareness and simple practices and know how to get the right support for their child without spending a fortune. Their stress will melt away as they build their resource arsenal for addressing the behaviour challenges and know exactly how to provide an environment their child can thrive in and become the contribution to society they are meant to be. Furthermore, point out this service helps them save time and how are they actually going to fit this into their life. Wow, now aren’t you ready to sign up for this training? Notice how by defining the value and addressing the crave, we have irresistible message.

Captivate Your Market With Your Message

The most challenging part of the strategy is determining the message that will hit home with your audience. You know how valuable your product/service/expertise is. You’ve got glowing response to your work. But have you ever noticed when trying to explain your work, the people you talk to sort of get it? You want them to be excited and enthusiastic. To get to the message that hits that emotional connection and drives them to want to know more, consider a Crave Consultation. Imagine walking away knowing what to say to turn a prospective customer into a craving client who becomes a raving fan. You’ll also know the specific content that will attract these prospective clients to your website and to call you, hire you or buy your product/service. That is the power of a captivating content marketing strategy.

It’s your turn to identify the specific results your persona/audience is craving, then you’ll know what direction your content should go in. More on the actual content below.

Present Your Information They Way They Want To Receive It

Now it’s time to think about the type of content to develop. Offering a podcast, blog and/or social media posts to educate your audience about your product or service can be a powerful piece of your rockin’ content marketing strategy. The goal is to stand out from other brands that simply present a solution in a generic format. To ensure this, you must make sure you are delivering the content the way they like it. If they are busy, give them the information in a format that they can easily digest.Is that a podcast or a blog or both? Stay tuned in and respond to their feedback regularly. Thus, find out what they think about your content. The only way you are going to figure this out is by surveying the consumers.

You need to think like a consumer, not as the expert or creator of your product/service. In your content, encourage your consumers realistically by relating to them on a personal level. In other words, give your content context. Also offer them feelings of hope and they will feel more compelled to view your content.

Sometimes podcasts are very applicable, but other times audio books can be much more accessible. You could also transcribe podcasts into blog posts. Or, you could take blog posts and make them into LinkedIn articles or slide shows. Taking the topic onto a livestream can be good if lots of people have questions. Even prerecord videos for the internet. Repurposing content can help get your message out further.

Plan Content Topics Around Your Buyer’s Journey

Plan out your content; when, where, and what are you publishing and who’s creating it. Everything has to come back to what they want right now and you will blossom from there. Simply, let your market dictate your message.  If you run out of ideas, try Googling common search terms. Google what you think your audience is typing (not you as the expert). The topics on page one will give you a clue of how to optimize your content.

For example, Patty Parent may google, “how to get my non-neurotypical child to bed.” They are probably not going to google parenting tutorials for… They are googling their specific challenges and desires which you previously defined. Morph these search terms, challenges and desires into compelling article titles. For example, 5 Simple Steps To Get Your Non-Neurotypical Child To Sleep.

There are different stages in content marketing you will want to design around: the awareness phase, the consideration phase, and the decision phase.

The awareness phase is when your persona is just becoming aware of a problem to solve or something they might want to add to/remove from their life. They need information that validates their feelings and gives them a lot of education about the topics.

Then there’s the consideration page, where you answer their question “What can be done about this? For example, what are my options with schooling, treatments, therapy, etc.? You want to help them understand their choices by giving them the information they need.

The decision making stage is where your persona chooses the best option for their situation is. This is where you want explain why your brand will be most valuable. You may even compare your product/service to another. It’s also a good idea to explain why you are a credible resource.

Make Your Content Visible To Your Market (Content Distribution)

You will need to strategically place your content so it gets the most visibility to your personas in their respective stages.

Sharing your own content to social media is a hit or miss whether your audience will see it. Getting others to share your content can increase your chances of getting to the most interested people. Influencer content sharing platforms like Social Buzz Club can help grow your reach.

If you’ve done your buyer’s journey content well, you can then use social media advertising to direct specific audiences (based on your persona and or pixeled from your website) to your free downloads, blog articles with calls to action, and even sales pages.

While our strategy thus far has focused on getting content directly to your end user (personas), you might also consider others who have influence over your market and also have similar challenges. For example, educators or other people who are indirectly involved in the issue your content deals with.

In short, a great content marketing strategy clearly addresses what your audience is craving in the format they prefer it in, at the right stage/timing, in the right place.

How To Market To Millennials

how-to-market-to-gen-y-laura-rubinsteinRyan Charles is a Classic Millennial open and creative guy with advice on how to market to Gen Y. Ever since I met him over a year ago, I noticed his fun loving attitude and highly sociable nature. So when he mentioned to me that he was asked to help with marketing to Generation Y, I wanted to know what he had to say.

Marketing to Millennials will be come more and more prevalent as they come of age. Doing it well may be a new paradigm for most marketers. Check out this interview, transcript and take aways.

  1. I understand recently you’ve been asked to be a part of helping market to gen y, how did that come about?
    Ryan: It came about when I was at at Toastmasters Meeting for District 5 Legacy Leaders where asked a question for table topics on how does Toastmasters market to the younger generation. I gave a lot of good ideas and the future Marketing Chair happened to be there and asked me “why not help market to generation Y” So I did that.
  2. What were some of the ideas you came up to help them market to generation Y?
    Ryan: Have a bigger web basis for social media. Go to colleges because that’s where Generation Y are right now. Talk to them now about Toastmasters because they will be needing it for the future. When they graduate it will be hard to get a job. So show them the benefits of how Toastmasters can help their financial future.
  3. How did you get involved with Toastmasters and what do you love about it?
    Ryan: Main reason I got involved with it was because 5 years ago my mom started Toastmasters. I wondered “what on earth is Toastmasters. They’re making toast? Ok whatever.” My mom brought me to a meeting and giving speeches. Watching people grow is one of the most wonderful things about toastmasters. When they join they’re stuttering, blubbering and saying ahh and um everywhere. As they progress watch them grow and it’s like “is that the same person that joined 3 months ago? It’s not. Reason I enjoy it is because I learn by watching other people give speeches. That helped me in my high school career. At my high school I had to give presentations to people from Time Warner Cable and I had to give a speech on why I deserved to graduate high school. I joined and use it for my networking, getting out there and speaking better.
  4. Give us a little history of your life?
    Ryan: I’m 19 years old and I enjoy drawing. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Thirteen years ago I had no talent but I wanted to be an artist. From 2nd grade onward I taught myself how to draw and got better. I want to make a future in doing graphic design, web design, drawing, painting… anything that has to do with the arts.  I see myself in Florida graduating from Palm Beach State University. Then transferring into Full Sail University and doing internships Pixar, Disney and animation companies.
  5. What should a company never do when marketing to gen y?
    Ryan: Well firstly gen y is very oriented on our phones. We hardly like talking to people in person. What doesn’t work are people trying to get people to sign petitions. People don’t like being forced upon. If a company tries to force their stuff on me, I’ll be like ‘no thank you” Sell it but not enough to push away.  I feel a company shouldn’t be completely serious and pushy.
  6. What could an environmental company do to be not forceful but interesting?
    Ryan: You’re not going to be able to sell to everyone. To get to 50-75% state your offer once. Thank you, I have to go to class. They keep pushing. No thank you. If they continue to push, the individual locks that in the back of their mind and never will buy. If you say it once, when I do have money, I’ll probably give it to the right cause.
  7. Ryan: Sometimes we act like we’re not hearing it, but really do hear it. Sometimes I wear my headphones, but have nothing playing just so people will leave me alone. Sometimes I do want to drown out the world and blast my music. Sometimes we need to drown out the world. An occasional ad on Pandora is annoying but we will deal with it and remember that.
  8. Is Gen Y the “Don’t bother me” generation. ”
    Ryan: The Gen Y is all about me. “What’s in it for them” is how to market to them.
  9. What does Gen Y want?
    Ryan: Gen Y needs money. Our economic situation is very bad. Most who go to college don’t get a job in that degree because the economy. If you’re get Gen Y to a job interview and help them blow the company out of the water at the interview with interview skills, the way you talk, how you say certain things. If I can get a job just by talking eloquently, I’ll give it a shot, We are material/money oriented. We What is new is bad. Want the newest thing, car.
  10. If you solve the money situation, what do you value? Where will you spend your money and time?
    Ryan: I am a Barnes & Nobel comic book nerd. I can’t speak for everyone. I will go to local comic book shop, and movies. Most of my friends spend their time working. I draw for other people. Sometimes they’re at the gym or watching TV shows. Friends go do card shops and play Magic The Gathering.
  11. What are some of the biggest differences between Gen Y and older generations?
    Ryan: We have information at our fingertips. We Google and find all the information so much faster. I don’t have to look at a dictionary. Access to information and technology. Gasoline is much more expensive now.
  12. What doesn’t Gen Y care about?
    Ryan: We care about environment, health care and community. I just helped feeding the homeless downtown. I don’t like politics. I know it helps our government roll. Politics is getting nasty. We are very health oriented. Don’t have to worry about it for a few years. I am concerned about how much it will cost me in the future. My friend Ben is a health nut. We are a very diverse generation.
  13. Are there certain products your generation likes?
    Ryan: I am a tea drinker and love Starbucks, Tevana. I like Nike, Adidas. I like American muscle cars like Mustang or Boss. But because of the gas prices, I will go with a Hyndai or hybrid. Most are happy with what they get. We also are getting Samsungs and iPhones. Clothing depends on the fads.
  14. Mac or PC?
    Ryan: Difficult. I run PC. I can appreciate the usability of a Mac. I can do so much with my PC. It depends on what you get. Take what you gets.
  15. Any other advice you’d give to someone who wants to hire and/or market to gen y?
    Ryan: You need to hire someone of that generation Y to market to them. Someone fresh out of college who is really sociable. One way to market to us is  YouTube. We fall into the YouTube votex a lot. We start out watching something school related and then 2 hours later we’re watching a cat fall into a toilet bowl. But if we throw in ads from there you’ll get in front of them.Here’s the part that he later typed to me to complete his answer.
  16. Ryan: Marketing to the younger generation is best done through youtube or on social media websites like on the side of Facebook’s news feed. Also with marketing to Gen y like I said before is if you show Gen y “what is in it for them” you can always sell. But also do it in a fun and interesting way because Gen y is very party oriented. If they can see what is in it for them in a fun way, then Gen y will notice it.

Take Aways About Gen Y Best Marketing Practices

  1. Utilize the age old marketing rule of WIIFM – always focus on what’s in it for them.
  2. What Gen Y needs/wants is money and a stable economy.
  3. They like gadgets, fashion, and cars.
  4. Use social media to market to them. In particular YouTube and Facebook
  5. Don’t be too pushy but definitely be present. They may not look like they’re listening but they will eventually notice you.
  6. Easiest way to turn off Gen Y is be pushy and repetitive.

Gen Y – Have Your Say

Please comment below with your insights on best ways to market to and get the attention of Gen Y consumers. What do you think is the biggest thing marketers need to do differently for the Millennial market?

The Best Business Development Strategy For Entrepreneurs – Public Speaking

Speaking for business developmentThe single most effective business development strategy for entrepreneurs is public speaking. As a marketing strategist for over 22 years, the small businesses I’ve seen grow the fastest are the ones where the leadership is speaking to groups of ideal prospective clients, colleagues, and other professionals who serve the same market. This is how I started and I have Toastmasters International to thank for the development of my skills in public speaking. More on that later. Even with the popularity of social media marketing, public speaking still is my number one marketing strategy. Social media can amplify the results you get with public speaking. A robust marketing plan includes strategies that build relationships.

When you are the featured speaker at a meeting, conference or corporate event, you give the audience members the opportunity to connect with you and start a relationship.

[Tweet “The best marketing strategies for entrepreneurs ALWAYS involve building relationships.”]

There are three main reasons public speaking is such a powerful marketing tool.

Speakers Have Instant Authority

First, when you present to a group of individuals you are automatically seen as an authority. You are given instant credibility because you’re on stage and have obviously been endorsed by the person/organization who invited you there. You know the old adage, “People buy from people they know, like and trust.” Thus, being a featured speaker builds that instant credibility because they can get to know you and determine if they like and trust you as you speak.  If they like what you say,  how you present and get value from your content, landing sales is very easy.

Exposure To Many Saves Time

Ultimately, getting sales comes down to numbers of targeted prospects. When yo speak to a group of people who are in need of your products/services, you are concentrating your efforts. Remember, you could be in front of a large audience, but if they are not targeted (people who are interested in what you have to offer), then your efforts may not be as productive. Therefore, it is important when choosing events to speak at that the audience is a match – meaning they are hungry for the information and solutions you have.

Leads To Other Opportunities

Invariably when I speak, I get new clients, offers to speak at other events, and/or colleagues who want to collaborate or send their clients. As Woody Allen says “80% of success is showing up.” One tip to ensuring this happens, is to play the role of host (when you’re not on stage). Go around the room, and introduce yourself to people. More importantly, find out about them. Ask them what brought them to the event today, what they are most excited to receive from the event, and what they do. I call this preparing the soil. Where you’re letting them know they are important and you are interested because you’ve taken the time to learn about them. Eventually, they will ask you questions, but until they do, keep asking them questions. Do this with as many people in the room that you can. If you can do this prior to getting on stage, you will feel like you are speaking to a group of friends. If not, just know they will be more predisposed to connecting after you speak.

Where To Learn How To Speak To Groups

You may be excited by the possibilities of speaking to groups and terrified about it at the same time. That is completely understandable as they say, public speaking is one of the most common fears. If you are in that camp, I can relate. In my early 20’s I was encouraged to join Toastmasters International. It was through encouragement and coaching by members that I grew past my fears to absolutely love and enjoy speaking from stage. Toastmasters has local chapters that usually meet weekly and follow a comprehensive and engaging format that develops members into adept public speakers. Many go on to win awards and have exceptional professional speaking careers.

I am so very honored to be speaking at the District 5 Leadership And Communication Experience (LACE) Fall Conference.


7 Keys To Being A Small Business Influencer [Infographic]

For the second year in a row, I’ve been honored with a nomination for the Small Business Influencer Award 2013.  This year it has inspired me to take a look at how one becomes a business or person of influence and what the value of that is. Over the years of growing my practice, I have seen many businesses come and go. The ones that succeed, however, are conscious and consistent in the following seven areas.

Laura Rubinstein Small Business Influencer 2013 nominee

Grow Your Influence, Grow Your Business

1. Right size your company: Is your budget in alignment with your goals? Make sure you set your business up for success with the initial realistic goals and a right sized budget and team.

2. Be generous: work on growing your reputation as a business that offers value from the moment they interact with the you and/or your team members. Make life easy for them in some way.

3.  Be a cheerleader and promote others: Are you giving referrals, sharing resources, listening for where your prospective clients are stuck (even if it has nothing to do with your business)? Who can you introduce? Always be advocating others. Social media is a great place to give shoutouts if your customers would appreciate that.

4. Collaborate: Who are other influencers of your market? Think about ways to create a joint event, product or service and co-market it.

5. Keep in touch: If there’s one area most businesses don’t put enough emphasis on is keeping in touch with your customers, colleagues, and prospects. How can you let them know you care? Take your email newsletter to the next level. Do what Lou Bortone did recently, offer to have a one-on-one conversation. I personally also recommend sending greeting cards for birthdays, thank yous, thinking of you, reminders, anniversaries, invitations, even vacation postcards to your clients. You can use online services like SendOutCards (send a card out on me with this link) that will send paper greeting cards that make it easy and they will even remind you.

6. Give Value 24-7: No, I’m not talking about inviting phone calls or email 24-7. Rather make sure your website and social media account offer valuable information that your market is craving. Jay Baer in his book Youtility, talks about creating content that is so useful to your market that they would pay for it.

7. Provide outstanding customer service. Monitor your social media accounts, email, and/or support system. Be proactive and host Google Hangouts, have an online appointment scheduler and make your phone number available. Above all respond quickly.

small business influencer infographic

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