Social Media Trends of 2019
Here are the top 10 social media trends to keep an eye on in the new year.
1. Rebuilding trust in social media platforms.
Social media platforms continue to grow annually — in fact, Facebook has more than 2 billion active users each month. However, the picture isn’t entirely rosy. Consumer confidence in social media is on shaky ground.
Users are growing increasingly leery of the information they find on social media. And marketers may be contributing to the situation when they fail to properly label paid advertising posts or they bombard a platform with targeted ads that overwhelm users. All of this can leave users feeling distrustful of both the brand and the platform.
Younger generations have little tolerance for marketing that comes off as disingenuous. Brands will need to look for ways to build consumer trust. That means focusing on ways to authentically connect with audiences, and ways to highlight their humanity. Brands need to connect with their audiences on a meaningful level. No one likes being constantly swamped with ads. Even worse is when you’re being marketed to and don’t even realize it.
2. Social media is about storytelling.
Social media’s popularity is rooted in the fact that it allows us to share our life experiences with friends and families. We get to tell our stories through our posts, and we get to see a snapshot of everyone else’s lives through our news feeds. At first, that was through written posts and photos, but video content is increasingly popular.
Social media is adapting, embracing new ways to allow people to tell their stories and share their narrative with the world. Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are embracing this trend, and it’s changing the way we consume social media content.
This opens the door for brands to share more human stories of their own, which will inspire audiences to try out their product. Storytelling feels real, immediate and personal, but it also demands a mix of more time-intensive video, images and graphics, and requires brands to be more creative and thoughtful in the intent.
3. Build a brand narrative.
Along with honing their human stories, businesses are going to need to build a strategic narrative behind their brand. Narratives capture moments and experiences shared between a user and a product; they’re the conversations that are occurring, and they’re often about trying to create a broader, more positive change.
These narratives can be distributed through social media and digital media, and they reflect what a brand’s community is saying about them. If a brand can build a larger story, it will have a better chance of success.
Brand narratives need to be compelling and lead audiences to an action. Evaluate your brand story, and ensure it is inspiring and stands out against the messiness of other social media content.
4. Quality and creativity over quantity.
Marketers often have a knee-jerk reaction to trends by flooding platforms with mediocre and uninspired content in hopes of riding the trend wave. Would-be customers react by tuning out and quickly dismissing subpar messaging. The threshold for gaining customer attention and trust has grown exponentially. Marketers who hope to gain consumer consideration must be willing to go the extra mile in creating engaging content.
The bottom line is, to have an impact, brands must be purposeful and creative. Less content, if it’s created thoughtfully and is well-positioned, will have greater impact than an abundance of content that is uninspired, heavy-handed or seen as shallow or dull.
5. Put a human face to your brand.
Personal branding is a must on social media. Putting a real, human face to a brand is key in building trust and loyalty, especially for small, relatively unknown businesses. Personal branding gives a business a human element that will naturally connect customers and make the brand seem more relatable. Businesses that learn to foster their human element will have a real advantage over those who hide behind a logo.
One popular trend in humanizing a business is to promote the personal brand of the business owner or a high-level leader. This can be done through guest blogging, podcasts and webinars. Giving the public an up-close view of the company’s leader can strengthen its brand reputation.
6. Influencers continue to grow their communities.
Influencer marketing continues to develop and grow on social media platforms. Influencers are social media figures who have gathered a defined community around themselves. Their large followings (which can range from the thousands to over a million viewers) give them influence over others. They can be incredibly effective as salespeople because we inherently trust the people we follow on social media.
Much like personal branding, when done well influencer marketing gives a human voice to brands. Influencer marketing is less direct than traditional forms of advertising, but it can effectively create authentic ways of connecting with customers.
7. Selfie videos and branding.
The selfie culture continues to flourish on social media, with the popularity of selfie photo evolving into the self-recorded video. These “selfie videos” are drawing high user interest on social media. Like the selfie photo, the selfie video allows users to capture a moment in time, but the video format allows users to communicate in a deeper and more personal way than a photo ever could. Selfie videos tend to be short and feel more immediate than a written post with a photo.
Businesses need to take note: viewers spend hours watching friends’ videos on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. Brands would be wise to look for ways to incorporate first-person “selfie video” content as part of their marketing strategy.
Traditional advertising can be off-putting to younger audiences, who are more cautious about their purchases and want a more authentic experience with their brands. The selfie video can help a brand seem more relatable and trustworthy.
8. Segment your social audiences.
While brands talk about their customers and audiences, the reality is that most businesses will have multiple audiences. Segmentation is the process of organizing your audience into manageable groups (or segments) so you can tailor your messaging and communications to the preferences of each group. Social media is most effective when you segment your audiences so you can be relevant to the right groups of people at the right time.
Making assumptions about your audience and lumping them all together could limit your ability to reach more people. So the more you know about your audience and the various groups that make up your audience, the better you can adjust your messaging and narratives to fit each segment.
9. Hyper-targeted personalization.
Customers have come to expect brands to tailor special offers and discounts to their wants and needs. To keep up with expectations, businesses need to step up their game when it comes to targeted advertising. Nearly every social media platform offers some level of audience filtering when you opt to pay for advertising. These options range from simple geographic targeting to advanced filters that refine audiences into highly specific segments.
In the coming year, brands will increasingly turn to hyper-targeted personalization to reach their audiences. This is often achieved through retargeting or remarketing ads. Ever wonder why you’re seeing an ad on your social media site for something you were shopping for earlier? That’s hyper-targeted personalization at work.
Using “cookies” while you browse online, marketers collect data on users, such as online habits, the area they live in and any other pertinent information. But marketers will need to find a balance between being too pushy and being able to offer personalized advertising that will genuinely interest customers.
10. Know your platforms.
Businesses should carefully consider which social media platforms to focus on, as each platform tends to be used by different groups. For example, over 80 percent of Pinterest users are female, and more than 50 percent of users are from the US. So, if a brand is targeting American women, posting on Pinterest could help isolate that group.
Meanwhile, Snapchat users tend to be younger than those who use Facebook. And career-focused professionals spend more of their time on LinkedIn. Brands that use multiple platforms should use these distinguishing characteristics to decide where to post content and on which platforms to focus the majority of their marketing efforts.
Social Media Goals to Consider in 2018
Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, here are some common social media goals to consider:
- Increase brand awareness: To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages. Instead, focus on meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels.
- Higher quality of sales: Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
- Drive in-person sales: Some retailers rely on social media marketing efforts to drive in-store sales. Is your brand promoting enough on social to reward those who come to you? What about alerting customers to what’s going on in your stores?
- Improve ROI: There’s not a brand on social media that doesn’t want to increase its return on investment. But on social, this goal is specific to performing a thorough audit of your channels and ensuring cost of labor, advertisements and design stay on track.
- Create a loyal fanbase: Does your brand promote user-generated content? Do your followers react positively without any initiation? Getting to this point takes time and effort with creating a positive brand persona on social.
Establish Your Most Important Metrics
While your targeted social media metrics might be the most important step of a strategy, it’s often the spot most veer off the path. Vanity metrics like follower count and likes are always good to measure, but does it tell you the whole story of your brand on social media?
We often get wrapped up in viewing followers and likes as the truth to a campaign, but it’s smart to take a step back and evaluate the social metrics associated with your overall goals.
Engagement metrics sometimes paint a better picture, because as we’ve mentioned many times here, building lasting relationships works on social. Large audiences and likable content is absolutely great, but here are some other metrics you might want to pursue in 2018:
- Reach: Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How far is your content spreading across social? Is it actually reaching user’s feeds?
- Clicks: This is the amount of clicks on your content, company name or logo. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
- Engagement: The total number of social interactions divided by number of impressions. For engagement, it’s about seeing who interacted and if it was a good ratio out of your total reach. This sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
- Hashtag performance: What were your most used hashtags on your own side? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand? Or what hashtags created the most engagement?
Research Your Social Media Audience
Approximately 79% of adults use Facebook–but are your customers actively engaging with your brand there? Understanding your audience is necessary to learn things like who buys your products, what age group is the toughest to sell and what income level makes up the most of your returning customers? As for social media, it’s just as critical to know your audience.
First, your brand should look into the demographics of your most valuable social channels. Like we mentioned before, you should have a goal in mind for your social media marketing strategy. This is why you need to research the channels that correlate the most with your goals.
To help you find your focus channels: let’s take a quick look at the essential demographics data for each major network:
- Facebook’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (89%)
- 18-29 year olds (88%)
- Urban- and rural-located users (81% each)
- Those earning less than $30,000 (84%)
- Users with some college experience (82%)
- Instagram’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (38%)
- 18-29 year olds (59%),
- Urban-located users (39%)
- Those earning less than $30,000 (38%)
- Users with some college experience (37%)
- Twitter’s most popular demographics include:
- Women users (25%)
- 18-29 year olds (36%)
- Urban-located users (26%)
- Those earning $50,000-$74,999 (28%)
- Users with college experience or more (29%)
- LinkedIn’s most popular demographics include:
- Men users (31%)
- 18-29 year olds (34%)
- Urban-located users (34%)
- Those earning $75,000 or more (45%)
- Users with college experience or more (50%)
- Snapchat and other auto-delete app’s most popular demographics include:
- Men users (24%)
- 18-29 year olds (56%)
- Those earning less than $50,000 (27%)
- Users with some college experience (27%)
- Better pulse on the industry: What are your competitors doing that seems to be working? What strategies are they using to drive engagement or sales? Having a pulse on the industry could simply help you improve your efforts and take some tips from those doing well.
You could do some easy napkin math, right?
And in time benefits:
Noticeably absent in this 10-second (and wildly incomplete) analysis: These benefits of working with a Facebook advertising agency.
If you consider what’s at stake, hiring an agency to deliver effective and profitable managed services could be much more affordable than bringing all your operations in-house.
Where as a salaried campaign manager/analyst hybrid is a single person, the same amount of money can get you a full team of optimizers, specialists and analysts who spend their hours monitoring, managing, optimizing, analyzing and prioritizing your campaigns.
As you increase headcount internally, your costs go up.
With an agency, you’ve already got a built-in multiple-person team with that one person’s salary. Depending on the agency’s managed services fee, that price point could tilt in your favor.
After all, if you found one superstar who can kick ass at all the managing, all the smart bid optimization, all the creative execution, all the audience research, all the performance analyzing, all the adjustments and tweaking, and all the monitoring, that one person won’t come cheap.
And that one person would somehow have way more than 24 hours in their day.
Sidenote: if you do find that superstar, give them our number, ok?
Let’s take a look at some of the day-to-day tasks your one-or-two-person Facebook ads team must complete:
- Ad copy for hundreds of variations
- Ad design/image selection for hundreds of variations
- Audience research from curated Facebook data sets, 3rd party data, internal customer data
- Compilation of other audiences – custom lookalikes, website visitors, prospects, other constituencies
- Assign targeting for hundreds of ad variations
- Place pixels
- App tracking
- A/B testing
- Optimize bids
- Monitor & adjust bids
- Analyze & interpret performance results
- Apply test outcomes to new cohorts
- Refresh ad creative
- Refresh ad copy
- Stay up-to-date on Facebook ad platform changes and software updates
- Troubleshoot platform bugs
- Maintain domain expertise in Facebook advertising channel
- Stay up-to-date on industry-specific marketing best practices
- Meetings and/or calls with key stakeholders, analysts, marketing peers, sales teams, and others
Needless to say, time is a huge factor in the cost of running Facebook ads. Ad automation software certainly helps with some of this, but as you scale, the amount of work to maintain and learn from your campaigns multiplies as well.
So, want to talk costs?
Let’s take a look at some hard numbers:
|Annual Facebook advertising budget||$2,000,000||$2,000,000|
|Avg managed services premium (for us, that’s about 15%)||$300,000||$0|
|Salary of Campaign Manager||built in||$100,000|
|Salary of Designer||built in||$100,000|
|Salary of Data Analyst||built in||$120,000|
|Salary of Senior Strategist||built in||$120,000|
|Annual Software Subscription||built in||$100,000|
|Annual Budget for Actual Ad Placement||$1,700,000||$1,460,000|
Even if you require a $100,000 salary for someone to manage the relationship with your agency, you’re still working with $140,000 more in your Facebook ad budget than if you took the production in-house.
What’s more, an agency is innately focused on providing superior performance.
In-house employees are not necessarily focused on justifying their salaries directly in relation to the performance of their Facebook ad campaigns.
Agencies, on the other hand, know that you have many options when it comes to deciding on an advertising partner.
Killer results are the one true deliverable.
We know there’s a lot to consider when entertaining the idea of bringing your marketing in-house or handing some of your most important processes to a third party.
Cost shouldn’t be one of them.
The quantitative value of putting your Facebook advertising in the hands of a team of experts positions you for success that scales.
It’s at this point that I’m tempted to say, “And you can’t put a pricetag on that.”
But the truth is, you can.
If you want specific facts and figures that help you weigh the costs of working with OrionCKB vs. building an in-house advertising operation, give us a call, and we’ll be happy to put the numbers to work for you.
In the pursuit of business success, what are some of the moves you can make when you’re first starting out to pay dividends later on?
Of course, there are those hard and fast rules for dealing with cash: start small, save your money and put what you earn into a bank account that you won’t touch for other expenses.
And remember, you don’t need flashy, big-ticket items to make an impression. Use the funds that come in from your venture to invest in yourself — read, take classes, learn a new skill and go to events where you can meet like-minded people. What you learn and who you connect with can only help you in the future.
For more about how to think big and take calculated risks to become a millionaire, check out the infographic below (made by our friends at Business Insider and based on the advice of three Entrepreneurcontributors).
The importance of gaining trust online.
Before I dive into the ways you can increase your site’s conversion rates and improve sales, let’s briefly look at online trust. Creating trust is likened to the new digital currency. Forget about Bitcoin for a moment. If you don’t have the user’s trust — in the way of content, reviews, verifications and authority — virtually no strategy will help increase your sales.
The simple truth is that consumers don’t want to buy from someone they don’t trust. This relates to products and services just as much as it does to information. If you don’t pay homage to that one simple rule, no amount of work or advertising dollars spent is going to give you the traction you’re after to boost your sales.
However, if you can gain the user’s trust, not only will you increase your website’s sales conversion rates, but you’ll also create the foundation for a monumental business — one that can operate effortlessly and almost on auto-pilot. That’s why companies like Amazon, Zappos and Apple fought so hard to build the consumer’s trust. They knew that once they had that trust, sales and conversion rates would skyrocket.
It’s monumentally difficult to build the consumer’s trust at the outset. It takes time — something that most entrepreneurs and business professionals simply don’t have enough of. In fact, business is more likened to a race against time, in an effort to earn enough money just to get by.
So, how do we build trust while also increasing a site’s conversion rates? Here are 17 ways you can do just that.
1. Give away the farm.
There’s absolutely no better way to increase your website’s conversion rates than by giving away the farm. I know, it sounds crazy. However, what you’re doing here is delivering real value. And if you’re serious about building trust with the consumer, you truly do have to give it all away.
In some circles, they call this attraction marketing. You’re attracting the user to you like a magnet rather than trying to solely lasso them in with advertisements. It’s free and it’s organic, and it will allow you to close just about any sale because it naturally results in an increase in visibility on search engines like Google.
The more you give away, the more people you’ll attract to your site and its content, and subsequently to whatever products, services or information you’re selling. Great content is naturally shared by droves of people. And those shares play a crticial role in your site’s visibility on search engines. As the proverbial saying goes, build it and they will come. It just won’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to.
2. Build a sales funnel.
Anyone who’s serious about increasing their site’s conversion needs a sales funnel. Not everyone who initially visits your site is going to buy from you. It simply doesn’t happen like that. And if you don’t build a sales funnel, there’s almost no way to stay in contact with that visitor. They’re essentially lost forever.
When you build a funnel, you also commit to building a relationship with your visitors. For people who think that email marketing is dead — you’re wrong. It is one of the most profitable avenues to selling online, and it can be done nearly on auto-pilot by using drip-fed campaigns.
Remember, you’ll need to offer something. Most people just don’t give away their email addresses these days unless you give them something of value in return. Create an incredible free offer, report, ebook or anything else that you can give away for free, then work on building that relationship with them in subsequent emails.
3. Focus on improving the user’s experience.
You can considerably increase your site’s conversion rates if you work on improving the user’s experience when they arrive to your site. These are the fundamental technicalities that involve the fusion of aesthetics and functionality. How easy is it to navigate your site? How much content is above-the-fold, and how much is below-the-fold?
How many advertisements and other distractions are confusing the visitors and making them veer off onto one tangent or another? Is there a clear structure that moves the visitors from your content to your offers? This takes some serious analysis, and the usage of website heatmaps can help considerably here.
Overall, be sure to leverage pleasing font styles and sizes, carefully sectioned-off content and a clear structure for the visitors to move about your site. If they find things frustrating or if the site takes too long to load, they’ll leave and go elsewhere. Use tools like Pingdom and Page Speed to make a general assessment of your site’s speed, and focus as much of your efforts as possible on the layout, design and browsability of your site.
4. Engage in A/B split-testing.
Digital marketing is an art, but it’s also a skill that’s developed. What better way to test your offers than to engage in A/B split-testing? How compelling is the title of one page versus another? How big should you make the “buy now” button? What colors should you use or product images should you place and where?
The best way to determine the success of your offers is to conduct A/B split-testing. Anyone can learn how to do this, and it will remarkably aid in improving your site’s sales conversions by allowing you to determine what works best.
Whether we’re talking about landing pages or email titles or advertisements placed anywhere, split-testing is a must. You need to create two separate pages with two separate URLs and be able to track them. Use Google Analytics or learn web development if you have to, because this is by far one of the surest routes to understanding your visitors’ behavior.
5. Implicitly understand your buyers.
You can’t expect to improve your sales or increase your conversions without first understanding your buyers. How well do you know your demographics? What age is your prospective buyer? Where do they live? What types of hobbies do they have? Are they married with children? Divorced? Single?
The better you understand your buyers, the more likely you’ll be able to sell to them. This is the backbone of any business, and it comes back to the fundamentals of who you are, what you’re selling — and specifically who you’re selling it to. Be sure to understand your buyer as well as you can. Conduct surveys if needed.
Once you know your buyer well enough, you can design all of your content and offers around that specific consumer demographic. The less you understand your buyer, the more likely you’ll be to simply stab around in the dark or throw things at the wall, hoping something sticks.
6. Build compelling offers.
How compelling are the offers you’ve built? Are you leveraging discounts and promotions in the right way? Advertising firm BIA/Kelsey released a study determining that, “small businesses estimate 17.7 percent of their total business in the next 12 months will be generated by customer acquisition promotions such as discount deals, daily deals, coupons or similar offers.”
Consumers take promotions and offers seriously, but only if they’re positioned the right way. In 2014, 2.84 billion coupons were redeemed out of a total 319 billion that were distributed, according to Inmar. This proves that we must understand how to position and present offers effectively.
Needless to say, your offers should also deliver a tremendous amount of value if you’re serious about increasing sales and conversions. How much value are you delivering in those offers? The better and more compelling the offer, promotion or discount, the more likely consumers are going to be to bite.
7. Help others solve problems to build authority.
Authority can only be developed over time, and it happens by consistently helping others to solve problems. This is done in the form of content. It can be written or recorded content. It can be a step-by-step tutorial in the form of an article, or it can be an in-depth video.
However, problem-solving doesn’t always have to happen at your site. You can build authority through online forums such as Reddit and other sites by constantly helping to give real advice to others — not by trying to sell them, but by genuinely trying to help them. If, within that context, you have some content on your site that might further assist them, then link to it.
Authority can only be built in a genuine way and it will slowly grow, one day at a time. It won’t come overnight. It happens as people begin to trust you for assisting them with solving their problems or filling some needs. Imagine how much easier it is to sell something to someone when you’re an authority on a topic, versus when you’re a newcomer. It’s a whole different ball game.
8. Leverage the power of influencer marketing.
I’m a firm believer in influencer marketing. You can leverage the power of influencers within your niche on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, to help you sell just about anything. Today, influencers command vast audiences and have already built up authority and trust with others, so it’s a natural step to leverage them to help you increase your own conversion rates by driving more traffic and utilizing their existing trust with consumers.
It takes a lot of work to build an audience of millions of fans or followers on any platform. For that reason, these people are paid a lot of money to give shout-outs and help to drive traffic. Be sure to locate the right influencers in your niche if you’re serious about gaining traction with this strategy.
Influencers can help you build your brand like no other strategy can. But it’s also going to cost you, so don’t expect to save money by doing this. It’s also difficult to estimate your ROI on a strategy like this. Still, over time, it’s one of the best ways that you can reach a highly-engaged audience, especially if you’re a newcomer.
9. Simplify the transaction process.
How easy is it to purchase from your site? How many people are abandoning the shopping cart or leaving in the middle of the purchase process? It’s important to track your users’ activities if you’re serious about increasing your conversions so that you can better understand their behavior.
How far do the users get into the purchase process? Do they add products or services to the cart and abandon afterwards? Or, do they make it to the first or second step? And, speaking of the purchase process, how easy or simple is it to purchase or register an account on your site, not only on desktops, but also on mobile and tablet devices?
There are a ton of technicalities at play here, but the better you can track your users throughout the entire purchase process, the more likely you can hone into just where they’re deciding to call it quits and give up. If you focus on capturing the email address at the very first step, then you can actually drop them into your sales funnel here as well, and hopefully score a future sale.
10. Use real world testimonials and reviews.
Reviews are an enormous part of the process. If you don’t have testimonials and reviews on your site, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is an excellent way to increase your conversions, especially by displaying these reviews during the purchase process.
However, it’s really important to leverage genuine reviews. You can also rely on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor, depending on what industry you’re in, to help you with your reviews. You can then display these reviews on your site through APIs or by using clickable badges that will link to those reviews.
Remember, it’s all about trust here. And the more you can bridge that trust-gap with users, the more likely you’ll be to secure the sale — especially when we’re talking about high-dollar amounts for products and services. You’ll be less likely to get sales from people that didn’t come from word-of-mouth referrals if you don’t have reviews and testimonials to show people.
11. Eliminate distractions from landing pages.
Ever notice that there’s no navigation bar at the top of well-designed landing pages? Did you notice that all you can do is essentially scroll down and gain insights into the offer, with virtually every concern covered, but can’t navigate away? The best landing pages in the world have very few distractions.
Your point is to filter them down to the buy-now buttons, and do it by crafting compelling sales copy. If you’ve never created a landing page before, now is the time to educate yourself. Research “best landing pages” or “best squeeze page designs” to discover a few examples of what an ideal offer page would look like.
This is also where button colors, sizes, placements and frequency of occurrences matters a great deal. And pay careful attention to your placement of reviews and in-depth testimonials, which should be found with pictures of the clients, along with all the benefits that the products, services or information offers, directly on your landing pages.
12. Provide a bulletproof return guarantee.
You need to remove all of the risks associated with a purchase if you want to increase your conversion rates. If your products, services or information speaks for itself — and it should if you’re serious about long-term success — then give consumers a bulletproof return guarantee.
This is where you can drive home the point of trying out the product or service, and how you’re completely confident that once they actually use it, they’ll be completely satisfied with their experience. If you’ve gone above and beyond to build offers that deliver huge amounts of value, then you shouldn’t hesitate to provide a great guarantee.
By removing the risk associated with the purchase, and by conveying just how confident you are in your products, services or information, you’re delivering a strong message to the consumer to remove any hesitations to purchase from someone they might not be too familiar with.
13. Leverage online trust portals.
There are a number of online trust portals that you can use to help you with building that all-important digital currency of trust. From the Better Business Bureau to Trust Pilot and many others, leverage platforms online to help convey confidence in your business and offers.
If a consumer can check your Facebook or Google reviews, or reviews on any other site that will seem impartial to them, they’ll be far more likely to purchase from you. If you lack these, then you’re also going to lack the trust of the consumer, which is important if you’re relatively unknown to the world.
You can also join consumer groups through sites like LinkedIn and others to help locate trust portals dedicated to your industry or niche. New ones are always being formed and created, and the more visibility you have on these sites, and the more you can direct customers to post reviews about you, the more likely you’ll be able to increase your conversion rates over time.
14. Create powerful incentives to purchase now.
Find a way you can offer some powerful incentives if they purchase immediately. For example, you can provide a countdown clock for an amazing offer that will expire within a certain number of hours or minutes. It just might help you land that sale. With this offer, you could deliver something extra to them, but only if they buy it right now.
You could offer a number of incentives to people in an effort to secure the sale now rather than later. Depending on how compelling those incentives are, people will either purchase or go elsewhere. Think about ways that you can deliver real value through added services or ancillary offerings to help secure the sale.
You can also use these types of incentives in your A/B split-testing. You can test one offer with the incentives and the other without them to better gauge their conversion rates. You’d then need to drive some traffic to these offers through possible ads on social media, Google or elsewhere to see which one works best.
15. Make it easy for consumers to contact you.
Place your contact information in easy-to-see places throughout your site. You should also consider adding an online chat to allow consumers to easily contact you. Maybe they have a question about something that simply isn’t covered on the site, or maybe they’re looking for reassurances before the purchase.
You should also consider leveraging a toll-free number and online contact forms so that users can quickly and easily contact you. Ensure that you, or a representative, are there to answer that phone call or contact form request. Don’t wait too long before getting back to the user so that you can close the sale.
From a consumer’s perspective, there are tons of hesitations when it comes to online sales. Don’t allow those hesitations to disrupt the purchase process, and be there when they have a question or concern.
16. Increase the number of calls-to-action on the page.
Offer pages should have at least three calls-to-action on the page. This includes any emails you might send out as part of your sales funnel as well. You have to remind people to click links and draw them into the purchase process, or it’ll simply get lost in the fray.
By using eye-tracking and heat maps, you can also determine just how far down the page the users are getting. While some of that technology does slow down the site itself, this is invaluable information to be able to help assess whether or not your calls-to-action are even resonating with consumers.
You can use Google Analytics properties to track what links are being clicked. You don’t need to be a web developer to do this. Simply use the URL builder provided by Google Analytics to build out your URLs and track some of the clicks on the calls-to-action.
17. Don’t use complex language or talk down to consumers.
Consumers don’t like to be talked down to. They also don’t like it when you use complex jargon and language to explain things to them. In fact, most consumers are rather savvy, and they’ve already done a significant amount of due diligence on the products or services in your industry or niche that you might be offering.
You should speak to consumers more like a friend would speak to another friend. Build a connection with them on a personal level and offer up some transparency. Don’t try to portray yourself as much bigger or more important than you are. Consumers don’t connect with that.
By speaking to them on a friend level, you can increase your conversion rates by finding common ground. Don’t be afraid to share things that you’ve held back in the past. You’ll be surprised at just how much users will respond to imperfect qualities of a person. Remember, we’re all human.
The Dental Marketing ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) Formula All Doctors Should Know
The Dental Marketing ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) Formula All Doctors Should Know
BY ADAM ZILKO
Want to find out if your marketing agency is working for you instead of holding you back? It’s time to figure your dental marketing ROI. If you’ve just hired the company in question, it may take time for enough ROI data to generate. You’ll need this data to accurately calculate your ‘return on investment’ based on the figures required for the ROI formula. But if it’s been at least three months, you should have all the information you need. Here’s how to discover, once and for all, if your dental marketing company is worth the money you’re paying and what to do about it if not.
I’m going to take you through a typical ROI example. The ROI formula for calculating your dental marketing return on investment is (Profit-Cost)/Cost. To find these figures, you need to find out how much you’re paying for advertising, how much revenue that advertising is bringing in and how much your average customer spends in your office per year. Then we’ll plug those numbers into the ROI calculator to find out, once and for all, whether or not you made the right decision in hiring the marketing company you’re working with.
How Much Are You Paying for Digital Advertising?
In order to calculate the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaign, you’ll need to calculate how much you’re paying for the services in question.
For instance, let’s assume that your marketing and advertising budget looks something like this each month.
$2000 for a Yellow Pages ad
$2500 for a Billboard overlooking Main Street
$500 for branded promotional items like pens, Frisbees and key chains
$100 for Groupon
And $1500 for Digital marketing
If you want to gauge the effectiveness of your digital marketing firm, you would take the $1500 you’re paying the company each month and multiply it by 12 to figure your yearly expenditure, which comes out to $18,000. Keep that number in mind. We’re going to come back to it in a moment to plug it into the ROI equation.
How Much is the Digital Marketing Company Earning You?
Now it’s important to figure out how much revenue your digital marketing company is bringing in to your office each year. To determine this number, take the average amount of new patients the digital marketing company attracts to your dental practice monthly. We’ll say five. So that’s five patients every month that were earned as a direct result of the digital marketing company working on your behalf.
Now multiply that number by 12 to figure how many new patients you’re likely to earn in the span of a year from the digital marketing company’s efforts. For the sake of our ROI calculation example, that number would be 60.
How Much Does the Average Patient Spend?
Let’s assume that your average patient comes in twice yearly for a checkup and cleaning. And now let’s assume that each patient also comes in for a specialty treatment, we’ll say a Root Canal.
If the cost of your average cleaning/checkup is $150 and a Root Canal costs $1000, then your average patient spends 2*$150+$1000 = $1300 per year at your dental practice.
Now take the amount of new patients your digital marketing company is earning you each year (60) and multiply it by the average amount each patient spends ($1300). That would mean that your digital marketing company is earning you a whopping $78,000 annually! Wow, what a great marketing company you hired.
Using that number, we can now figure your dental practice’s Profit for use in the ROI formula.
Figuring Your Dental Practice ‘Profit’
Your Profit is figured by taking the yearly take-in from all of your Internet-earned patients ($78,000), then subtracting the amount you’re paying your digital marketing company ($18,000).
That’s $70,000 in pure profit the digital marketing company is earning you in the span of a single year. And what an excellent year that would be.
Now we have all the information we need to figure your dental marketing ROI.
The ROI Formula for Figuring Your Dental Marketing Return on Investment
Here’ that simple formula for figuring your marketing ROI once again: (Profit – Cost)/Cost. We’ve already figured your Profit ($70,000), so now all we have to do is work the formula. The Cost in this instance refers to your digital marketing expenditure, which is the $18,000 we came up with earlier.
Plugging the numbers into the ROI calculator, we get ($70,000-$18,000)/ $18,000 = 2.89. To get the percentage, multiply by 100, which would bring your digital marketing Return on Investment to 289%. And a number like that is exactly what you’re looking for.
Now that you know how to figure your dental marketing ROI, let’s see why it matters.
When Does ROI Become Important?
The marketing company you hired should have provided you with a series of goals before they started, and especially before you signed a dental marketing contract. If the company doesn’t follow through on the promises they made, then you should definitely fire the company to search for a new one.
Knowing how to figure your dental marketing ROI is extremely important. Instead of measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing company by rankings or various other metrics, find out if the company is actually making you money. If it’s not, it might be time to make a switch.
If you’re not happy with your current return on investment after using this simple ROI equation, hire a company that actually can come through on all its promises, just like this one right here.
Most, if not all, businesses, to include dental practices, are always searching for the best marketing options. You may consider engaging more on your social media platforms, offering incentives for referrals, using print marketing materials, or even TV / radio commercials.
While these marketing strategies are great ways to attract new customers, it is important to note thatmajority of patients are starting to search for new dentists on Google. With this in mind, it is critical to have a digital marketing strategy that includes SEO, so your dental practice can easily be found in these Google searches. Use these 6 SEO strategies for your dental practice to help increase your organic rankings:
6 SEO STRATEGIES FOR YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE
1. Keyword Research
Research and analysis are major components to a successful SEO strategy. When conducting keyword research, it is important to include landscape, your competition, and most importantly, relevant keywords. There are a variety of free keyword research tools that can help you find new, relevant search terms. Here are a few of our favorites:
The key to keyword research is not using the most competitive keywords out there. Instead, select those that you can dominate, and, in turn, will will bring you the most traffic. The best keywords to target are those that are hyper-targeting. For example, instead of targeting “Raleigh Dentist,” target ” Pediatric Dentist in Raleigh NC” or “Urgent Care Dentist Raleigh NC.” This will help to draw in new patients that are looking for specific services in your area– now.
2. Create Service Targeted Content
When using a search engine, like Google, it is important to understand that Google does not rank your website as a whole entity but, instead, as individual pages. For example, if I am Googling “teeth whitening dentist in Raleigh,” the top ranked search results are going to be pages about teeth whitening services or cosmetic dentistry, not the homepage of your site (unless it has been optimized for teeth whitening.)
When creating content for your website, you want original content that goes in depth about the topic or service you are offering. In other words, instead of just filling space and meeting a 2,500 word minimum, prove that you are an expert on the subject.
If you are offering teeth whitening services, consider creating a page that answers your client’s questions: Is whitening a good option for me? What are the pros/cons? Will it hurt? Can it damage my teeth? How long will it take? How Does it work? What is the procedure? What chemicals are used? Will my teeth be sensitive after? etc. Consider the questions that your patients ask you as a starting point. Then, use your expert knowledge on the subject to elaborate, creating quality content.
3. On-Page Optimization: Title Tags
There are many elements to an optimized page. This is everything from being viewable on multiple devices, including popular browsers and optimized to render legibly and aesthetically on all screen sizes, to being keyword targeted and crawler/bot accessible. While these can be time consuming and sometimes tedious tasks, it offers a great reward.
When optimizing your pages, make sure that you have a Title Tag. This text describes the page and shows up in 3 different places:
- In the tabs of your browser.
- On external websites, mainly on social media sites.
- On the results page of a search engine.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when creating Title Tags.
- Put the main keywords at the beginning of your Title Tag.
- Consider your brand. If your dental practice is large enough, you may want to put your brand name at the beginning of the Title Tag. Or, if you are a smaller practice, do not include your practice’s name in the Title Tage or leave it towards the end.
- Keep user experience in mind. Remember that this may be the first interaction a potential patient has with your practice; make your Title Tag compelling to encourage the viewer to visit your site.
- Keep your Title Tag between 50-60 characters (512 pixels).
View the examples below to help you create a Title Tag for your page.
In both examples, A and B, the main keywords are located in the beginning of the Title Tag. The Title Tag in example A reads, “Family & Cosmetic Dentistry | Cary NC Dental Office,” focusing on Family Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry. Similarly, example B focuses on Sedation Dental Care and Cosmetic Dentistry. Conveniently, both of these practices use their keywords in their brand names so their brand name is also included at the beginning of their Title Tag.
A main difference between the examples is the length of the Title Tag. Example A uses a title tag that is within 512 pixels, while example B exceeds the width limit. You can see that the Title Tag in example B is cut off at the end and an ellipses is added.
4. Internal & External Linking
As you create content pages on your website, you will likely reference things that you have already discussed on another page. Or, if you have not yet created content on that subject, you may want to supply your readers with a link to an expert source. Offering expert sources and supplemental information shows that you are aware of the authorities in your field. In these situations, you can use anchor text and create a link to anoother page. This allows you to pass “link juice” across your pages.
5. Link Building
You can increase your Google ranking by getting links to your website from external sources. There are many ways to get links back to your site from the web. A few link building strategies include press releases, blog commenting on industry-related articles, and creating citations on local and dental specific directories.
According to Moz, here are the top citations for dental practices:
When creating profiles and entering your information on local and dental directory sites, it is important to maintain consistency with your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). This includes punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc. For example, if you have 7901 Strickland Rd #112 as your address on your website, do not put 7901 Strickland Road #112, 7901 Strickland Rd. Unit 112, or any other alternative; all your address information needs to be the exact same across the interwebs.
6. Create a Google+ Profile
Creating social media profiles for your business is important. One of the top social media channels you should take advantage of is Google+. Google+ is not only a social media platform, but also a tool that can be used to help improve organic search results and local search listings.
According to Adobe, as the 3rd largest social media networking site, trailing behind Facebook & Twitter, the most obvious reason to use Google+ is because Google owns it. Your profile should include your logo, photos of your staff and practice, a in-depth description that includes links back to your site, hours of operation, your address (the same way it is written on your website, for consistency), and phone number Once your profile is complete, you will need to verify your business (may take 3-5 days).
Here is an example of a complete and SEO-optimized Google+ page:
by simsdesigns. from Visual.ly Source: #SEO Infographic… by simsdesigns. from Visual.ly
1. Get started on Instagram1
If you haven’t started an Instagram account for your business, what are you waiting for? The younger generation has flocked to this social media platform with over 200 million monthly active users (according to Expanded Ramblings). Advertisers are getting more of an opportunity to share their content through filtered photos. Instagram is one of the most natural ways to share content for your brand. It is better to be a step ahead of the game than 2 steps behind it.
2. Yahoo! Bing network
The average cost per click on Yahoo! Bing was 10% to 24% lower than on Google AdWords. A lower cost per click can yield a lower cost per acquisition, which is the exact reason why you should start taking the search network seriously that receives 11.6% of the market share this upcoming year.
If you are in an expensive industry in the pay per click world like the legal profession, insurance industry or medical field, having a lower cost per click can help with a profitable PPC campaign.
3. Facebook lookalike audience
What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? According to Facebook, Lookalike audiences let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to a customer list you care about. When you use Custom Audiences, you can choose to create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to your Custom Audience list.
Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers! This is a neat feature that advertisers should at least test during the upcoming year.
4. Paid promotion on Facebook
Adding just $5.00 in promotion to selected Facebook posts will drastically increase your interaction. You’ll start to notice a major spike in communication when you boost your post for a small budget. With Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, the likelihood for a business to appear high in the news feed is less likely. This is why for 2015, you should focus on posts that can yield the best results and boost them for a small budget.
5. Email marketing
If you are a business that only sends out one email blast per month, start doubling this number and send out at least two per month. Nordstrom sends out multiple email blasts EACH DAY! If you have compelling content that would be informative to the subscribers on your email list, tell them about it via email communications.
According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!
6. Twitter outreach
There has been a lot of frustration amongst marketers over all of the advertising that various social media channels are forcing businesses to partake in. Luckily, Twitter is still a great platform where you can grow your following organically. Start searching for hashtags within your industry and reaching out to users in this fashion. Compliment someone on Twitter about a blog post that they wrote. Begin asking questions related to your hashtag. The result will be more interaction and core following of people who are interested in your content! There is a reason why Twitter has nearly 1 billion registered users! Start reaching your target audience via tweets through the perfect Twitter outreach strategy in 2015.
7. Facebook re-marketing
If you are a social media marketer and have not taken advantage of display advertising on Facebook, you are missing an outstanding opportunity. Not only will this yield one of the highest return on investments for your clients, it will help with brand exposure, lead to better conversion rates and provide a flexible budget which will lead to a more effective strategy.
An apartment community in Columbus implemented beautiful graphics with relevant messaging for one of its apartment communities for Facebook re-marketing. When someone would drop off of their website and visit Facebook, this messaging would follow them around. This resulted in a 33% uptick in conversion for their Polaris Apartments community!
Start seeing an uptick in conversion by implementing a Facebook re-marketing strategy for 2015.
8. Better blogging
We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines. 80% of daily blog visits are new so this is a great driver of new website traffic! Additionally, a blog can serve as content for a Facebook and Twitter post as well as a teaser for an email marketing campaign. By creating better blog content in 2015, your web traffic will increase and your content will become more compelling
9. Google+ game plan
Google+ might not gain you that much interaction on your social media posts. This social media platform plays a crucial role in search engine optimization on the localized level, which makes this a must for marketers in 2015.
The more reviews you get, the more content you post onto your page and the more followers your obtain, the higher the likelihood that you will start ranking well for localized search terms.
10. YouTube videos
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Expo2sure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure. Online video should definitely be included in your 2015 digital marketing strategy as this form of rich media can be a game changer in terms of publicity for your company. People will interpret your YouTube videos that you are taking your marketing initiatives very seriously!
11. Compelling graphics
The more compelling your graphics are on various social media channels, the more interaction you will receive. If you have a graphic designer, start sending him or her over your social media calendar so they can help create beautiful imagery. In 2015 you will want to increase engagement and great pictures certainly help. If you don’t have a graphic designer, don’t worry; there are affordable sites that offer stock photography like BigStock.
12. Search engine optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have an average close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as cold calls or print advertising) have an average close rate of 1.7%. Having your website optimized for SEO is a necessity heading into 2015. By having an SEO strategy in place, you can increase your leads and grow your business for next year.
13. Content contribution
If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields. If you own an apartment community in Nashville, start writing for a local Nashville website that talks about the best activities around town. You will be seen as an expert in your city and this can help drive more traffic to your website. While people might not be looking for an apartment immediately, they will remember that you have invested time and effort into content within the community!
14. Digital PR
You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post. The more people talking about your company, Tweeting about your business and mentioning your brand, the better exposure you will receive for the upcoming year.
15. Unique promotion:
Brainstorm a unique promotion that people will actually enjoy that can drive massive publicity for your company in 2015! Whether it is coming up with a user generated jingle contest or a photo upload promotion, entice your great fans on social media to interact with your brand in a clever way. If the promotion is a success, it will be one of the most talked about campaigns for your company