Transform Your Readers Into Enthusiastic Customers Using The Circle Of Trust Content Plan
Transform Your Readers Into Enthusiastic Customers Using The Circle Of Trust Content Plan

Do your readers trust you? Do they trust you enough to buy from you? How can you build and nurture that trust? The ‘Circle of Trust Content Plan’ is designed specifically to help you do just that.

When I started my first business I made the mistake many new business owners made. I launched my business and expected people to buy from me. Immediately.

I did get a couple of sales early on, from supportive friends, but it was going to take a whole lot more work to get the business ticking over.

I needed to sell to people beyond my circle of friends if I was going to be successful.

My blog was an early addition to my marketing armoury but even then I didn’t get it right straight away. I plugged away at creating content but I wasn’t always creating the right content for the right people. The content that would attract them, nurture them and convince them to buy.

I was blogging without a real purpose, without a plan, I wasn’t thinking about how I could use my content to build trust.

Sound familiar?

Our friends buy from us because they know us and trust us to deliver. We need to replicate that in our blog audience.

That’s where the Circle of Trust Content Plan comes in

The ‘Circle Of Trust Content Plan’ will help you build trust with your readers. We’re going to look at each stage of the circle and the type of content you can create.

Listen below to find out more



I look at a lot of business blogs and there are two big mistakes that I encounter time and time again.

  1. Businesses talk about themselves and promote too much, so much so that readers aren’t interested in visiting their site.
  2. They only offer soft content, it attracts readers but they don’t become leads or customers. They don’t learn about your business.

If we’re going to be successful we need to balance content that attracts new readers and encourages them to buy.

To do this we need to build a content plan based on trust. I call it ‘The Circle Of Trust Content Plan’.

The circle of trust consists of five phases that our customers pass through:

Tune in
Relate
Uptake
Sell
Tell others

Build a content plan based on The Circle Of T.R.U.S.T
Build a content plan based on The Circle Of T.R.U.S.T

Each phase requires content.

Tune In

Get your ideal audience to 'Tune In'
Get your ideal audience to ‘Tune In’

This is all about attracting new people to your business. Your goal is to reach as many people within your target market as possible.

There are a few ways you can approach this.

1. Write about broader topics

If you’ve created a customer persona you’ll have a good idea of the things that your ideal customer is interested in. They may not be directly related to your business but if they share a common interest you can tap into that with your ‘Tune in’ content.

For example a local bar might write about local news, feature local celebrity interviews or talk about remote working.

They will attract a local audience and an audience of people that need to find somewhere to work whilst they are in town.

Read more on creating customer personas here.

2. Go all in on SEO

Search for keywords not just related to your business but the topics you know your customer is interested in. Identify the top topics and write thorough posts about them. You’ll find lots of keyword tips in my interview with Ray from FreshBananas.

3. Approach guest bloggers

Asking people to write guest posts for you will expand your audience beyond your usual bubble. Guest bloggers will add knowledge to your site and share your content with their own audiences.

Read more about creating a guest post strategy here.

4. Newsjacking

What’s hot in the news at the moment? What are the top topics being discussed in your industry? Can you find an angle and write about it?

It doesn’t always have to be a news story. Our local bar could create a cocktail for the finale of the current series of Dr. Who called ‘The Sonic Screwdriver’ (if they knew this would interest potential customers). Then share the recipe and a short video on the blog showing readers how they came up with the idea and how to make it.

5. Shareable content

It’s not easy to come up with shareable content. There’s an art to it. Writing an expert round-up post or an ‘ultimate guide’ can help if you pick the right topic.

Roundup posts work well. If you pick the right contributors they’ll share your post giving you a reach way beyond your regular audience.

My roundup post for International Women’s day featured the morning routines of 17 successful women and is still one of the top shared posts of 2017 on my blog.

Find out more about writing expert roundup posts here.

Relate

Get your readers to relate to you
Get your readers to relate to you

Now people have discovered you and tuned in, the next stage of building trust is getting them to relate to you. Your Tune in content was all about attracting an audience based on their interests.

Your relate content is more specifically about your business and industry. It’s still not sales content but it has more relevance to you.

Here are some content types that you can use in your relate content.

1. Tutorials

Share processes and step by step guides to help your customers with the specific problems they have. Our local bar could share tips on organising a work night out, how to pair beer with food or the official rules of darts (or other bar games they have).

2. People

People are the heart of your business and it’s people that make your audience trust you.

When someone walks into your premises, gives you a call, drops you an email or starts a messenger chat they’ll feel more comfortable if they’ve seen your face.

Can you feature interviews with staff or encourage them to write posts/record vlogs and podcasts for you?

You should also use your own stories to help the audience relate to you. I started this post with a story about my first business did it help you relate to me?

3. Reviews

This works particularly well if you have a commerce business. What products do you stock? Can you review them or will you ask others to do it for you? Honest reviews that talk about the good and bad will help you build trust with your customers.

Mick’s Garage do this particularly well.

If you don’t have a commerce business look at products that are related to your business and industry that you could review. Maybe there’s a new book out that your customers will be interested in. Is there a TV show on relating to what you do?

4. Industry news

What’s happening right now in your industry? Can you write a weekly or monthly update about the things your customers really need to know and how it relates to them? Are there specific topics that you want to cover in more detail?

Sometimes this won’t be breaking news, it could be seasonal. For example, every Christmas my posts about Facebook competitions get a boost. I reshare them every year.

Uptake

Get readers to uptake a freebie offer
Get readers to uptake a freebie offer

We’ve begun to build trust with our audience. Instead of getting them to take the leap to buying straight away we can get them to make a smaller initial commitment.

This could be asking them to hand over their email address or phone number so you can stay in touch. Or you can encourage them to visit key web-pages so you can retarget them with social ads.

We need to incentivise this with our content. Here are some ideas:

1. Content upgrades

Do you have a download that compliments your blog post? This could be a simple printable version of the post, a checklist or an eBook.

Our local bar could have a party planning checklist, a downloadable cocktail recipe eBook or even better a voucher to taste some of the beers they have reviewed in-house.

Read more about how my lead magnet performs here.

2. Cornerstone content

Look at each type of customer or each product range or service you want to sell and create an epic piece of content (or series of content) around it.

Make sure you have your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and search pixels installed so you can retarget visitors to those pages with ads.

You’ll know that the people who visit those pages are interested in specific aspects of your business making it a more relevant audience to sell to.

3. Competitions

If you are reviewing a product consider running a competition on the blog post as part of the review. Your aim should be to get an email address or phone number as part of the entry process so you can stay in touch and sell to them later on.

Sell

Help your readers through the buying process with your content
Help your readers through the buying process with your content

Actual sales won’t happen on your blog but you need to have supporting information that will encourage the sale. You need to make sure that your reader has every piece of information they need in order to buy from you.

This is where Marcus Sheridan’s ‘They ask, we answer’ content kicks in.

1. Answer all the questions

The frequently asked questions page on a website is often lacking. It’s hard to answer every question your customer could possibly have on just one page.

Instead, write in-depth content that answers everything your reader could possibly need to know before buying. This should include price, the process your customers need to go through and any other common questions you are asked.

Keep a note of every question you get asked by readers, customers and other people you meet and write a post about each. You can link to these from your FAQ page or create a ‘Learning centre’ on your site that features them.

2. Call to actions

Write about your product and service in an honest way. It’s just as important to point out the downsides of your offering as the upsides. For example, you may be the best but you’re probably not the cheapest. Perfection comes at a price after all. Be clear about this and your customer will trust you.

Read more about Calls To Action here.

Tell others

Help your happy customers and advocates spread the word
Help your happy customers and advocates spread the word

The final phase of our Circle of Trust Content Plan is the one that completes the cycle. Once a customer has done business with your, or even if they haven’t but you’ve helped them in some way they’ll want to share their experiences.

The beauty of Tell others content is that it feeds new people into the circle, if you can get your customers sharing you’ll be reaching their friends and connections.

There are two key ways you can encourage this:

1. Case studies/Testimonials

The testimonials page on a website tends to look stuffy and dull. You can make them more believable by adding nice images and video but you can’t beat a good case study.

Case studies allow you to dive deeper into a testimonial. To tell a story that shows exactly how a customer benefited from your business.

Start with the problem they had, talk through the process of solving it and quote results. Include photos (and video if possible) of your customers. This will help your audience understand more about how you can help them and the story format will make for a good read. Far better than those stuffy testimonial pages.

2. User Generated Content

Are your customers active online? Can you inspire them to share photos, videos, tweets about their experiences with you.

One of my favourite restaurants in Dublin offers prizes for the best food photos shared online with their hashtag.

If you run a campaign like this you can choose your favourites and create a blog post with them. This works particularly well with Instagram as the visual nature makes it more attractive.

One note, write some good terms and conditions that make it clear how you are planning to use the user generated content.

3. Shareable content

There’s a local restaurant in Athy that I love. The food is amazing and although they don’t blog I’m always looking for opportunities to share my love of the restaurant with my social connections. Yes, I take photos each time I’m there and share it widely but I’d love some more meaty content from them that I could pass on to friends.

A blog post about their story, how they set up the restaurant. Articles about their suppliers and how they choose their ingredients, all of this would help me promote their business without getting too heavy handed with the sales.

What’s next?

Of course, some content will fit into more than one category but by consciously thinking about the phases of the circle you’ll ensure that you have a more focused content schedule.

There’s no time like the present. Sit down and brainstorm content ideas for each phase and start planning your content.

If you find yourself going off track remember my story. People don’t just find you and buy from you. They need to trust you before they commit themselves to you and your product.

Balance your content using the Circle of Trust and you’ll gain the trust of your customers and continue to attract new audiences.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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Transform Your Readers Into Enthusiastic Customers Using The Circle Of Trust Content Plan
Transform Your Readers Into Enthusiastic Customers Using The Circle Of Trust Content Plan
These 6 Lookalike Audiences Will Improve Your Facebook Ads Campaigns Overnight
These 6 Lookalike Audiences Will Improve Your Facebook Ads Campaigns Overnight

Lookalike audiences have always seemed like the poor relative of custom Facebook audiences. Or so I thought until I talked to Stefan from LeadsBridge.

If you haven’t come across Lookalike Audiences before, they consist of people who Facebook considers ‘similar’ to members of your existing audiences.

In this guest post from Stefan you’ll discover some of the more interesting lookalike audiences you can create.


It’s easy to find more customers and clients on Facebook, if you know how to do it.

Advertisers spend a huge amount of money on Facebook ads, often with disappointing results. Common problems are:

  • Non-reactive prospects
  • High cost per lead
  • Low sales volume

I’m not going to tell you how to create a complete marketing campaign that sells. I won’t show you how to get rich quickly.

Instead, I’m going to show you how to reach the right people for your business through Facebook.

Why Lookalike Audiences?

A good marketing plan needs a fresh flow of potential clients discovering your business.

Lookalike Audiences are a great way to do that.

Let’s start by looking at the source of your Lookalike audiences. You can create lookalike audiences that have similar traits and interests to ‘warm’ audiences who have already come into contact with your brand.

These could be:

  • Custom Audiences
  • Website visitors
  • Facebook Page fans

But remember, lookalike audiences aren’t warm leads. You’ve just found people who are similar to those who are.

When you target them with ads you shouldn’t aim to sell your products and services straight away. Instead, you need people to get to know you first. Perhaps entice them into your site with a good piece of content or entertain them with a video from your Facebook page.

If they interact with this soft content it will be easier to convert them into prospects and customers using retargeting campaigns.


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Getting started with Lookalike audiences

How to create a lookalike audience

Lookalike audiences are based on custom audiences and page likers. The warm audiences we mentioned earlier. If you haven’t created a custom audience yet,  you’ll need to do it.

Here’s how:

Go to your ads manager (or Power Editor)

Select “audience” from the main menu. If you don’t see it straight away click ‘More’ at the bottom of the menu and you’ll find it under ‘Assets’.

Select audiences from your ads manager menu to create a custom audience
Select audiences from your ads manager menu to create a custom audience

In the next window, select Create Audience – Custom audience.

Select custom audience
Select custom audience

Choose from:

  • Customer File
  • Website Traffic
  • App Activity
  • Engagement on Facebook
Custom audience options
Custom audience options

To create a website custom audience you’ll need to instal the pixel on your site. The others can be created straight away.

Let’s take a look at some of the most beneficial lookalike audiences you can create.

#1 Website engagement lookalike

If your website receives a lot of visitors, great! That’s good news.

But how can you identify people who are really interested in your services? And how does this help create better ad campaigns to reach more potential clients?

Your website visitors are in fact the best potential customers to acquire. You know they are already interested in what you do.

To reach people similar to your top website visitors, create a Custom Audience based on website traffic.

Select 'Website traffic' from the options
Select ‘Website traffic’ from the options

Then, create an audience of users who spent more time on your website. (not available to all yet but you should have it soon).

This new feature in website custom audiences lets you target your most engaged readers
This new feature in website custom audiences lets you target your most engaged readers

To create a lookalike of this audience, select the audience you just created and click ‘actions’/’create lookalike’.

Create a lookalike audience from your custom audience.
Create a lookalike audience from your custom audience.

Repeat this action to create lookalike audiences from any Custom Audiences.

#2 Key web content lookalike

If you cover multiple topics on your website you will attract different types of audience to each topic.

For this reason, narrowing your audiences to specific web content can be a better way to target your Facebook advertising campaigns. A lookalike audience from these visitors will be more relevant than the wider audience we created before.

Create a custom audience from those who visit specific pages on your site.

Here’s an example:

If you are a car dealer and you wrote a post about the 6 best auto vans in 2016, people who visit this post will be a good source for your lookalike audience. You could create a brand-awareness campaign or a test drive offer to turn them into a warm audience.

By narrowing your lookalike audience to those similar to specific webpage visitors you can target people with an interest in those topics.

#3 App activity lookalike

You might have been ignoring this custom audience type because you thought you didn’t have an app? You probably didn’t realise that the Facebook comments plugin is considered an app?

You can use the comments app to collect a custom audience based on people who comment on your blog and build a lookalike audience based on that source.

Create an audience from app activity (including the Facebook comments plugin)
Create an audience from app activity (including the Facebook comments plugin)

Targeting people similar to those who have taken the time to comment on your blog with ads is a good way to build a more engaged audience.

#4 Facebook Page engagement lookalike

Creating a Lookalike audience from people who engaged with your Facebook page, is a good way to reach more people who could be interested in your business.

Create a custom audience from people who engage with your page on Facebook
Create a custom audience from people who engage with your page on Facebook

It’s been possible for a while to create a Lookalike audience of people who Like your page. The problem with this is that many who Like your page probably haven’t seen an update from you since they clicked the like button.

So, instead of basing your lookalike audience on your page likers, you can create a custom audience from the people who engage with your page and build your lookalike from that.

Create a custom audience from people who engaged with posts and ads from your page
Create a custom audience from people who engaged with posts and ads from your page

Because these people have engaged with your page they are a more relevant audience for you to replicate with a lookalike.

#5 Video engagement lookalike

Posting videos on Facebook is one of the best ways to create engagement with your fans and make them aware about your brand, services and products.

It’s a great way to build a warm page engagement audience. Creating a lookalike audience based on this is a good way to find new people who are interested in the same topics as your existing audiences.

#6 CRM lookalike

A CRM audience is one you base on a customer list. If you have a good CRM (customer relationship management) system implemented for your business this could be the most effective audience you create. It will help you classify prospects with tags, providing important information about your lists.

Knowing data – like which links have been clicked, which email has been opened and so on – means that you will be creating a far more sophisticated lookalike audience.

With a CRM, you can track the behaviours and interests of your prospects and customers, creating specific Custom Audiences and, consequently, most effective lookalikes.

The problem is, when you have several lists you will be constantly importing and manually updating your custom audiences. We’ve been working on this issue at Leadsbridge and have come up with ‘Custom Audience Sync’. It will help you create custom audiences from CRM and create lookalikes from them. Find out more on our site.

Conclusion

In this article I shared with you 6 lookalike audiences that will allow you reach more potential clients:

  1. Website engagement lookalike
  2. Key web content lookalike
  3. App activity lookalike
  4. Facebook Page engagement lookalike
  5. Video engagement lookalike
  6. CRM lookalike

If you want to create more effective campaigns and target the right people through Facebook, these lookalike audiences are what you need to improve your ads campaigns (almost) overnight, by reaching new prospects who could step into your Funnel.

What about you?

Which lookalike audiences are you using to grow your business through Facebook?

Leave a comment below, if you want, and feel free to ask questions about the Facebook Ads strategies you just learned.


Stephan Das is CEO and co-founder at LeadsBridge. A suite of automation tools for Facebook Advertisers.  Social Advertising and Marketing Automation enthusiast. You can download his Facebook Ads Insider’s Hacks here.


 

 

 

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These 6 Lookalike Audiences Will Improve Your Facebook Ads Campaigns Overnight
These 6 Lookalike Audiences Will Improve Your Facebook Ads Campaigns Overnight
What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren't We Using Them?
What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren’t We Using Them?

Facebook Canvas ads were launched in February 2016 and until today I’d never created one. I’d played alright. When I checked today I found two empty drafts. Why have I been ignoring what could be a great advertising tool?

The killer statistic

In May 2016, Facebook released some pretty impressive stats about Canvas ads. The most eye-catching being

The average view time is 31 seconds, 31 seconds of someone looking at your ad. That’s pretty great. 31 seconds someone is spending with your brand.

I’m not sure if they are still getting that sort of traction but I’ve decided to stop procrastinating and set one up. But first…

What are Facebook Canvas ads?

Canvas ads are an ad creative type that work exclusively on mobile. They can consist of a single, large element or a series of elements that help tell a story about your business.

When people click the ad they canvas fills the screen and users can interact with them. The good ones are essentially mini interactive websites.

Look at this one from American express blue

And this one from Citrone


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The Canvas options

When you set up a Canvas ad you are prompted to choose from three options:

1. Single screen

This is a big image that will be revealed when someone clicks. It will fill the whole screen. In their guides, Facebook recommends adding a headline to the image using photoshop. At the bottom of the image is your call to action, you can send people to a blog article, a landing page a services page, whichever will work best for you.

2. Storytelling

This type of Canvas ad is the one that captured my imagination. You can add multiple elements including video, images, canvas and text blocks to tell a story about your business.

In their guide, Facebook suggest you to start with a hero image. Those who click will be able to interact with each aspect of the story. The American Express ad above is a great example of how this will work.

3. Fullscreen Media

Start with a video and show people more images and media to guide them through a story. This is very similar to the Storytelling option above but you are limited to where you can add links

The elements of a canvas ad

A Storytelling of Fullscreen Media ad can consist of different elements. These are:

  • Full canvas
  • Header
  • Photo
  • Text block
  • Button
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Product set

Access the Facebook guide to find out the dimensions for each of these.

How to create a Canvas

At the heart of a good canvas ad is a story. It’s the story that should drive your ad creation.

Start by defining the story you want to tell. What is the problem that the content, product or service solves. What is the key takeaway for your audience?

It’s a bit like writing a blog post.

Take another look at the American Express Blue example.

The takeaway is:

‘You can create these amazing Smores right now if you order the ingredients on Instacart with your American Express blue card’

It reels us in with the temptation of smores and shows us how to make them.

Breaking down the story

Now you know your story break it down into elements

  • How will you present the problem?
  • Do you have an image that will tell the story?
  • How can it be solved?
  • Can you include a how-to video (like the recipe video in the American Express example?)
  • Do you have a series of products that will help? You can create a carousel of images each one linking to your website product pages.
  • Do you have a testimonial you can include?
  • Do you have an image to accompany it?
  • What’s the result of your efforts. A happy customer? A problem resolved?
  • Don’t forget the calls to action, ad more than one so you are capturing people who don’t reach the end of your ad.

Now you have the elements in place you can go and create your ad. You can set up a Canvas in the ‘Publishing Tools’ section of your Facebook page or within the ads interface.

Create a Canvas in the 'Publishing Tools' section of your Facebook page
Create a Canvas in the ‘Publishing Tools’ section of your Facebook page

*Note: It’s much easier to create your canvas in the Publishing tools section and select it when creating your ad.

Measuring results from your Canvas ads

We saw the statistic above from Facebook, People stay looking at Canvas ads for an average of 31 seconds but what metrics can we measure from our Canvas ads and where do we find them?

Metrics

Facebook offers us the following:

  • View Duration
  • View Percentage
  • Canvas Component Duration Percentage

Where to find your results

From ads manager select ‘Customise columns’ from the drop down menu

Choose 'Customise comments' to find your Canvas metrics
Choose ‘Customise comments’ to find your Canvas metrics

Select the ‘Canvas metrics’ from the list

Select the Canvas metrics
Select the Canvas metrics

What’s next?

Canvas ads offer an immersive experience to your audience. They could end up engaging them far more than any other ad type but they take time.

Sit down and think about the story you could tell with a Canvas ad. It could be well worth the time spent.

 

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren't We Using Them?
What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren’t We Using Them?
Talking To Robots - How I'm Using Facebook Messenger Bots To Grow My Blog
Talking To Robots – How I’m Using Facebook Messenger Bots To Grow My Blog

Facebook messenger chatbots aren’t just the hot new thing, they’re a great way to promote your blog and build stronger connections with your audience. 

Listen and find out how I’ve been messing with Facebook messenger bots



There’s something about Facebook chatbots that excite me. I remember my first one. Pegg, the Sage chatbot that assists businesses with their bookkeeping. You tell it what you spent money on and it will keep a record of it for you.

The Pegg chatbot connects to Sage One and keeps a record of expenses
The Pegg chatbot connects to Sage One and keeps a record of expenses

It turned out Pegg was a gateway bot, before I knew it I was out there looking for more to subscribe to. It wasn’t long before Hi Poncho joined Pegg. He’s a cheeky cat that tells me the weather forecast twice a day.

Twice daily weather reports with a sense of humour from the Poncho messenger bot
Twice daily weather reports with a sense of humour from the Poncho messenger bot

Then there’s the more serious Wall Street Journal, sending me their latest headlines once a day.

Why the Wall Street Journal? Because they had a chatbot! Soon other media outlets joined in.

Headlines from the Wall Street Journal straight to Facebook Messenger
Headlines from the Wall Street Journal straight to Facebook Messenger

Then I started on fashion… Tommy Hilfiger is choosing outfits for me.

OK, I might have a problem…

But they are addictive.

Since I first said hi to Pegg I’ve been wanting a bot of my own. instead of relying exclusively on email, could I use a bot to update subscribers by Facebook message?

The answer is yes and the process was a lot easier than I imagined and that’s what we’re going to look at in this post.

Chatbots?

If you got this far and are still wondering what I’m talking about, a Facebook messenger chatbot is an automated system that will respond to messages on Facebook for you.

For example, if you get a lot of enquiries about your products and services you probably find yourself answering the same questions over and over again.

Instead of typing the answer every single time you can get a chatbot to do it for you.

You can set it up to ask a series of questions that qualifies respondents and points them in the right direction.

That’s what the Tommy Hilfiger one does. It asked me questions and came up with a selection of outfit choices as a response.

The Hilfiger messenger bot asks a series of questions and diverts your enquiry accordingly
The Hilfiger messenger bot asks a series of questions and diverts your enquiry accordingly

But chatbots don’t have to be for big business.

A hotel could use it to point customers to the right package or deal, an online grocery could suggest recipes, a cinema could assist you in buying tickets.

In fact, there’s a great chatbot that recommends Netflix movies for you. Check out ‘AndChill

Pick the right Netflix movies with And Chill
Pick the right Netflix movies with And Chill

Any business could use them to deal with frequently asked questions from customers.

As bloggers we can build a list of people who want to receive our posts by messenger, we can direct people to our lead incentive or suggest specific posts to them depending on their enquiries.

There’s huge potential in Facebook messenger bots. Let’s look at how to create them.

Before you start

What do you want your bot to do?

  • Send people to the correct page on your website?
  • Answer Frequently asked questions?
  • Send blog updates?
  • Encourage people to subscribe to your email list?
  • Find the best product for your customers?

Manychat

My first attempt was to send my blog updates out by Facebook messenger with the goal of driving repeat visits to my site.

I’m using Manychat. It’s free to get started and well priced if you decide to upgrade.

The first step is to connect it to your page, you’ll need to give it the usual permissions.

Next set up a welcome message. It took me a few goes to get this right.

Remember as a business you need to be open to chat to customers about enquiries, it can’t just be about getting subscribers to your blog.

Manychat has a default message so I customised that. Although this is an automated message I wanted it to sound like me so I’m currently testing:

The Spiderworking chatbot welcome message
The Spiderworking chatbot welcome message

 

 

If you click the ‘Yes Subscribe Me’  button you get tagged as ‘blog subscribers’ I send blog updates by messenger just to the people who are tagged. That means I’m not spamming people with my messages. I got opt in.

If you do subscribe you’ll get a follow-up message from me:

Follow up messenger to messenger subscribers.
Follow up messenger to messenger subscribers.

Setting up an RSS

The RSS feed on your blog is a special link that pings services like Manychat to tell them that there is a new post. To find out if you have a feed on your site try typing in your website domain followed by /feed.

For example, my site would be www.spiderworking.com/feed (I’ve also set up a Feedburner feed but I won’t bore you with that detail for now read more about RSS here).

In the ‘Engage/Autoposting’ section of ManyChat you can enter your RSS and set up sharing to your subscribers from it.

Add your RSS feed as a channel to ManyChat
Add your RSS feed as a channel to ManyChat

To be honest, I was underwhelmed by the RSS function, it didn’t send an image and it was unclear where to click.

In a most unbot like way I’ve decided to personalise these messages instead of automating it. This means I can add other calls to action and inspire engagement too.

3 updates a week may be too much so, just like my weekly snacks email I’m going to start next week with a weekly digest instead.

Beyond blog updates

Once you’ve set up your bot on ManyChat you’ve started building a list of subscribers. These are people you can message again whenever you want to.

There are rules:

  • You can’t send promotional messages to anyone who hasn’t messaged you in the last 24 hours.
  • You can send non-promotional broadcasts, this could include your blog digest or latest post
  • You can send a promotional follow-up message 24 hours after your initial promotional message

You can see why these rules are in place. Facebook don’t want Messenger to be a hive of spammers. They want people to enjoy getting helpful messages from businesses.

Read more on the Facebook developers site 

Sequences

Although getting new readers will be great I want more from y bot. Here are some of the ideas I’m pursuing.

Ask a qualifying question when someone gets in touch to see what they are interested in and send them a series of posts related to that interest.

Encourage people to message me so I can send them to my lead incentive or service page.

Oh and this one is really cool, if I upgrade ManyChat I can respond to people who leave a comment on a Facebook post.

For Example: I can create and organic post about my Blog Post Publishing Checklist. If you leave a comment using the word ‘Checklist’ it will trigger ManyChat to message you with a link to the download page.  I totally stole this idea from Molly Pitman of Digital Marketer who did a webinar for the Social Media Society.

Promoting your Facebook messenger bot

You get it, bots are great but if people don’t know about your bot all that effort will be wasted.

Here are a few things I’m trying for promoting mine:

Organic Facebook post

Underneath your status update box on Facebook that there are a number of ‘Suggested posts’ from Facebook.

Use the ‘Get messages’ one (if you can’t see it try clicking ‘see more’).

Set up an organic post to promote your messenger bot
Set up an organic post to promote your messenger bot

This will open up a post that has ‘Send message’ as a call to action. Customise this post with an image and text encouraging people to click the button.

Customise your post to encourage people to click
Customise your post to encourage people to click

Facebook ads

Run Facebook ads with the objective of getting people to start a chatbot conversation (or just boost the organic post).

To do this use the Traffic objective and add Messenger as your destination at the ad creation section.

Choose the traffic objective when setting up ads that encourage people to message you
Choose the traffic objective when setting up ads that encourage people to message you

 

Choose messenger as your destination at the ad creation phase.
Choose messenger as your destination at the ad creation phase.

Add a call to action to your site

ManyChat give you add buttons, pop-ups and more that you can add to your site to promote your chatbot.

Or you can just link people to your messenger account. Your personal link will be https://m.me/nameofyourpage

For example mine is https://m.me/spiderworking

Click and see what happens

Fringe benefits

Something unexpected happened when I set up my bot. Since I launched it Facebook has replaced my woeful response rate from ‘Responds in a few days’ to ‘Very responsive’.

It’s a vanity stat for me but one I’m delighted with.

What’s next

I’m moving up to the paid version of ManyChat so will be playing with lots more features. I hope you’ll join me.

If you want to set up a Facebook messenger bot of your own get started at manychat.com. Let me know how you get on.

Oh and if you want help setting up your own Chatbot give me a shout.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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Talking To Robots - How I'm Using Facebook Messenger Bots To Grow My Blog
Talking To Robots – How I’m Using Facebook Messenger Bots To Grow My Blog
A Busy Business Owners Guide To Writing Better Facebook Ad Copy Quickly
A Busy Business Owners Guide To Writing Better Facebook Ad Copy Quickly

I want to ask you a question. Promise you’ll be honest when you answer?

The last time you ran an ad on Facebook how long did you spend writing the copy, the text that accompanied it?

Was it an afterthought or did you spend time crafting it?

I’m guessing, but I’m imagining that as a time-starved business owner it’s something you put little time and effort into. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

The thing is, you’re paying Facebook to show this ad to people. You have to spend time making sure you’ve got everything optimised so you’re not wasting money.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you create better copy for your Facebook ads that will deliver better results.

9 Facebook ad copy tips to boost your results

Before I share those Facebook ad copy tips let’s just take a quick look at the basics

What do you want people to do when they see your ad?

Depending what you are advertising you’ll have different objectives.

Are you:

  • Trying to get people to read a blog post?
  • Watch a video?
  • Sign up for a freebie?
  • Buy?

Your objective needs to be at the heart of your copy.

3 text placements

There are three key areas of an ad that can include text.

Text overlay

The first place to add text is your image. Yes, it’s true, Facebook doesn’t want you using too much text on your image but a few words or even a headline can work. It’s the image that will grab your audience’s attention afterall.

More ad image tips here.

Last week I showed you the carousel ad from United. The text overlay was enough to tell me their destinations without a big chunk of text.

If you’ve got a strong offer or a hot headline consider adding it to your image.

Body text

This is the text you traditionally think of when you are creating your Facebook ad. It appears above the image on the Facebook newsfeed, Audience Network and below the image on Instagram ads.

When you’ve captured your audience’s attention with your image it’s this text that will encourage them to take action.

Your body text should reinforce the text overlay you’ve included on the images.

Link preview text

If you are sharing a link you can change the text that appears in the link description. At the very least you should review it and make sure it enforces and enhances the key message of your ad. Make it interesting enough that people will want to click to find out more.


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Depending on the objective of your ad you will use a mixture of the copy tips below.

1. Urgency

Use urgency in your Facebook ad copy
Use urgency in your Facebook ad copy

There’s a lot been written about urgency and if you are selling something there’s nothing like a deadline for making sales.

That doesn’t just apply to your ad copy but every part of your sales process. When we promoted courses for We Teach Social it was the email that told people they only had 24 hours left to book that got the highest sales.

It’s harder when you are creating Facebook ads as you’ll be running them over a number of days or weeks. You can either create new versions of your ads counting down the days or hours until an offer ends or you can simply add a date to your copy letting people know when the deal expires.

But urgency isn’t always about time. It could be that you only have a limited number of a product or seats on a course to sell. Adding this to the copy (and updating it regularly) can help push the sale.

One note, be honest with your countdown. You’ll lose your audiences trust if you continue to change the deadlines or your number of spaces available looks unrealistic.

2. Consistency

Be consistent with your language in all areas of your Facebook ad copy
Be consistent with your language in all areas of your Facebook ad copy

You don’t have to write the exact same copy in each of the three text areas but make sure the tone and the offer match.

Again, it’s all about trust, if your ad looks suspect people are less likely to click.

3. Make is short

Short copy in Facebook ads grabs attention
Short copy in Facebook ads grabs attention

You need to get your message over quickly on Facebook. Make it simple and to the point.

This doesn’t just apply to ads, it applies to all your Facebook content.

Shorter text = better engagement (Although there are always exceptions to this rule).

Or make it long…

There’s always an exception to the rule. Eleanor Goold who runs the amazing The Copywriter Facebook group suggests longer stories but don’t give it all away at the beginning, reel them in from the beginning and they’ll keep reading.

“Too many people are in a hurry to get to the benefits and forget they are telling a story, what’s more, that they are telling their target audience’s story back to them.

Make sure there is a hook to entice your audience in and curiosity to move people forward to get them to read the whole ad. A well told story will trump a hackneyed FB copywriting script when done right.”

4. Use CAPS and Emoji

Add emphasis with emoji and caps in your ad copy
Add emphasis with emoji and caps in your ad copy

There’s no text styling within Facebook ad copy. No bold, no italic, no differing text sizes. If you want specific words to stand out you’ll need to use capital letters. It can be an effective way to draw attention to the important words in your text.

Emoji also work well, adding that little bit of colour to a bland space.

If you do choose to use either of these in your copy use a light touch. Too many capital letters give the impression of shouting. Too many emoji can confuse your key message.

5. Use words and a tone that matches your audience

Use the language or your customers in your Facebook ad copy to foster trust
Use the language or your customers in your Facebook ad copy to foster trust

I don’t know what happens to businesses. I’ve seen pages that have been writing successful Facebook posts seem to lose the knack when they start advertising.

Just because you are paying for an ad it doesn’t mean you should slip back into an old-fashioned writing style.

Write copy in a tone that matches your ideal audience. You want to make users feel comfortable when they see your ad. Comfortable enough to click or buy.

I recommend reading your copy out loud before hitting publish on an ad. Does it sound natural? Are you using language you’d use if you were having a conversation with a customer?

6. Tell me why

What's in it for your customer? Tell them in your copy
What’s in it for your customer? Tell them in your copy

If you want your audience to take action on an ad be tell them what’s in it for them. What are they going to get in return for clicking?

  • Will they get a special offer or deal?
  • Will they find the answer to their question?
  • Will they save time if they invest in what you are selling?

If you answer a customer need with your product or service make sure you communicate that in your ad.

7. One CTA to rule them all

Tell people what to do
Tell people what to do

Your ad should be there to serve one purpose and one purpose only. Don’t purchase an ad to get people to Like your page and then try and sell an offer at the same time. It will dilute the effectiveness of your ad and you could end up getting nether the like or the sale.

8. Mention price

How much? Sometimes revealing the price will encourage click throughs
How much? Sometimes revealing the price will encourage click throughs

Facebook’s own guide to writing ad copy recommends mentioning your price (where appropriate).

Doing this will mean that when people click they are ready to spend. It also means more people will click. I’m often reluctant to click the link and wait for a site to load just to find out if the product is within my budget.

9. Ask a question

Questions inspire engagement and grab attention
Questions inspire engagement and grab attention

There’s something about seeing a simple question on Facebook that grabs attention. Make it something that resonates with your audience and you’ll pique their interest.

Go back to point 6 and find the question that you are answering for your customer. Make that question part of your copy and you’ll attract the right eyes to your ad.

What’s next?

If you are creating ads for your business it’s well worth setting some time aside to polish your copy. Experiment with some of the tips above and let me know if you see better results.

What are your top ad copy tips? What works for you? I’d love to hear your ideas.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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A Busy Business Owners Guide To Writing Better Facebook Ad Copy Quickly
A Busy Business Owners Guide To Writing Better Facebook Ad Copy Quickly
How To Make Your Job Easier Every Time - 3 Productivity Keys
How To Make Your Job Easier Every Time – 3 Productivity Keys

A long time ago in a place not so far away, just when I was beginning to set up my first business I was a temp. I was sent to different offices each week to complete admin work, answer the phone and various other office related duties. One week I was sent to a very busy supermarket chain to work in the buying department.

On my arrival I was handed a big book. It was the manual of how to do the job written by a past employee. It was full of tutorials and checklists.

Whoever had put that manual together had ensured that anyone taking over would be able to carry on their job to the letter. It helped me be more productive from the moment I arrived.

It made my job easy. It was my bible.

I’ve not always been the most organised business owner, but now, as those of you who have been listening to this series of podcasts will know, things are changing.

I’m not ready to write a whole bible yet but there are plenty of repetitive tasks in my working week that would benefit from a checklist or system. This week I took a step the first step.

Listen to my diary and find out how to be more productive with your recurring and business tasks



The story so far

This is the last in a series of podcasts on productivity and time management.

My goal is to get ahead with my blog content by one month.

  • In week one I made a plan
  • In week two I created a timesheet so I could measure exactly how I was spending my time and how long tasks really took
  • In week three I looked at how to apportion tasks into a recurring weekly schedule

In this, the last instalment I’m going to look at how creating checklists and systems could speed up repetitive tasks. I’ve also been investigating some of the tools you can use to help you implement a structured task list.

Recurring tasks

Be more productive - Streamline your recurring tasks
Streamline your recurring tasks

Last week I identified the recurring tasks that I needed to complete each week. Each one can be broken into sub-tasks. By dissecting them like this I can ensure that they get done properly each time, I can save time by taking the thinking out of it.

Checklists, forms, worksheets. All of these things can simplify what I need to do and make tasks quicker and easier to complete.

Start with a list. What tasks do you have to do each and every week?

Last week when I was creating my weekly recurring schedule I identified recurring time slots for tasks that I needed to repeat each week.

There was time for:

  • Planning
  • Social media updates
  • Measurement
  • Training and course preparation
  • Creating my video post
  • Creating my podcast
  • My Facebook Live Show
  • Accounts
  • Ad Reporting
  • Email marketing
  • Learning

Not all of these recurring tasks can be systemised. In fact I think it’s a good idea to leave some of your time looser. For example. I’m not going to create a checklist for planning. That’s a loose time-slot that will be filled differently each week. The same goes for learning. Some week’s I’ll do webinars, others I’ll read.

The recurring tasks that I can systemise are:

  • Social media updates
  • Measurement
  • Creating video blog post
  • Creating podcast
  • Accounts
  • Ad Reporting
  • Email marketing

On top of this, I have work tasks that need systems:

  • When a new client gets in touch I need to have a process for responding
  • When I take on a new client I need a process for ensuring I have everything I need to complete work
  • I’d like a process for more efficiently creating and updating courses

The recurring tasks can be dealt with quite easily. All I need is a checklist.

The business tasks are slightly harder and although I’ve started work on these this week it’s going to take me longer to complete.

Time to plan

Find time to plan your processes
Find time to plan your processes

Up until now my productivity drive has saved me time. I haven’t been ploughing time into my plan just streamlining what I do. Last week I spent an hour creating my recurring calendar but that’s it.

This week was different. It’s taken time and I need to put more time into it. I don’t want to scare you off I just want you to be aware that you’re going to need to put aside half a day to get this sorted.

The up-side is that once you’ve systemised your work you’ll waste less time every day and eliminate the stress you feel when tasks get on top of you.

Checklists

Create checklists to be more productive with your time
Create checklists to be more productive with your time

By now you should have a list of recurring tasks that you need to complete each week. You should also have narrowed these down to the ones that can be systemised. The next step is to start pulling them apart. Think clearly about how you approach each task. What are the individual elements that make it up?

It’s not always as easy as you think. I started compiling a list of tasks for my video posts, it started quite simply with:

  • Record video
  • Edit video
  • Write post
  • Publish post
  • Promote post

But then each of those tasks has subtasks of its own. My finished checklist is:

  • Write 3 x titles
  • Create images
  • Decide on the one thing I want people to learn
  • Write post
  • Set up social sharing
  • Complete the Yoast section of the past
  • Record video
  • Edit video
  • Create video thumbnail
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Edit captions
  • Embed video in post
  • Publish post
  • Create pretty link for video
  • Add cards to video
  • Download .srt caption file from YouTube
  • Share on Pinterest and Google+
  • Upload video to Facebook
  • Upload .srt file
  • Add custom thumbnail

Not only did I pull apart the task I was also able to work out the order in which I completed it. It should save me time with next week’s post and ensure I don’t forget anything.

Work tasks

Systemise your business tasks
Systemise your business tasks

This is much harder. More than a checklist is required. Instead, I need to set up a series of emails, forms and worksheets (for want of a better name) that will ensure I’m dealing with client work efficiently and to a high standard.

If like me you have different strings to your business bow you will need a lot of these.

Start by identifying the different types of clients you have. For me it’s:

  • Facebook advertising clients
  • Consulting clients
  • Group training clients
  • One to one training clients
  • I’m also expanding to offer more online products so I’ll need to create systems for these too.

The easiest way to create a system is to walk through the process you go through with a client from first enquiry to completing work.

It could be:

  • First contact made (usually by email)
  • Respond by email to get more detail
  • Schedule call
  • Send quotation
  • Send contract of work
  • Send email with requirements
  • Complete first draft of work
  • Get approval
  • Complete work
  • Send invoice

That’s a simplified system, the area ‘complete work’ alone will need to be broken down further.

Now you know the process you can start creating the elements that will make it easier.

  • Can you create draft emails for each section of the work?
  • Do you have a standard quotation and contract templates?
  • How do you send draft work to clients?
  • What worksheets do you need?
  • What is your invoice procedure?

I recently implemented a system for my Facebook ad clients, it’s not 100% finished but it’s already streamlined the process.

  • I have an enquiry form
  • Tutorials for clients so they can complete my requests
  • Template quotation forms and contracts
  • A Facebook advertising planning spreadsheet
  • A filing system for proofs

I’m working on the draft emails for each stage of the process too.

Knowing it works well for this part of my business I’ve started rolling it out to the other areas.

Tools

Use tools to boost your productivity
Use tools to boost your productivity

So far all the productivity work I’ve done has been on paper or on a whiteboard. Now it’s time to embrace some tools.

To get some recommendations I went to my Small Business Bloggers Facebook group. There were lots of suggestions but the two I chose to test were:

Both promised to be able to handle my recurring tasks and had a checklist like format.

Trello

Organise your tasks onto a board
Organise your tasks onto a board

I’d used Trello before to manage projects. It’s very visual. You create boards and tasks within that board. You can attach checklists, files, labels and due dates to each task.

Luckily I found this comprehensive post from Ellen And Company Design it helped me to understand the potential of the tool.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked.

Features

  • Create re-usable checklists within each task
  • Add team members
  • Attach files to each task
  • Set due dates
  • Duplicate tasks
  • Synced web and mobile app

The killer feature for me is the ‘Power-ups’. These are add-ons that enhance your boards. For bloggers, the Calendar power-up that turns your task list into a calendar is a must.

Power-up your Trello board to create a content calendar
Power-up your Trello board to create a content calendar

Wunderlist

When I first tried this tool on the mobile app I was underwhelmed. I couldn’t see how it would help with recurring tasks.

It’s much easier to set up on desktop, once I’d got a handle on it I kinda liked it.

Wunderlist helps you manage your todo list and recurring tasks
Wunderlist helps you manage your todo list and recurring tasks

Wunderlist lets you create a series of to-do lists. Just like Trello, you can break each list into individual tasks. For example, I created a list for my video blog and added each task as a sub-task within that list.

You can create folders, which act like the boards on Trello and add multiple lists to the folder. Each list can be one off or recurring.

Toggl

As you’ll have heard in the podcast Toggl was recommended to me by Laura Kenny as a tool for measuring time spent on tasks. I started using it immediately and it’s already a keeper.

Set your projects, hit the play button and it will record the amount of time spent on tasks. Great for blogging and also great for businesses that charge by the hour.

Features

  • Create recurring tasks
  • Create checklists within lists
  • Set due dates
  • Synced web and mobile app

Although after some digging I liked the way Wunderlist worked it was no competition. Trello won the day.

Summary

Using checklists, worksheets and templates you can make your working life more efficient. It will make completing tasks and projects easier and it will help you do them well every time. Tools like Trello can help you organise your schedule better as well as your business.

Your task:

  • Make a list of recurring tasks in your schedule
  • Make a list of work tasks
  • Break down your tasks into checklists
  • Walk through your work processes and look for areas that you can systemise with template emails, checklists and worksheets.

What about that goal?

I’ve put in a lot of work, I’ve become more efficient but am I ever going to make my goal?

I’m still suffering from laryngitis which has put me behind schedule as far as the rich (video and podcast) elements are concerned but I’m ahead with my writing. 6 days ahead.

It’s slow progress but yes, I anticipate I can make my goal within the next month.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. I may not be talking about productivity for the next few weeks but I’d still like to hear about your productivity tips, wins and fails so do leave me a comment below.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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Could Checklists, Templates and Worksheets Be The Answer To Your Productivity Dreams?
Could Checklists, Templates and Worksheets Be The Answer To Your Productivity Dreams?
Are You Ready To Create Thumb Stopping Facebook Ad Visuals To Grow Your Reach and Results?
Are You Ready To Create Thumb Stopping Facebook Ad Visuals To Grow Your Reach and Results?

The term thumb stopping is one that truly belongs in the 21st century. When we scroll through our Facebook feeds on our phones what stops our thumb on a particular post or ad?

The first thing to grab our attention will usually be the visual content.

If you are paying for Facebook ads being thumb stopping is crucial. Why spend money to reach the newsfeed if people just scroll on by. When I create ads for clients I’m always trying to create images and video that will catch the eye (and the thumb) and encourage them to click.

Here are my tips on creating thumb-stopping Facebook ad visuals:

1. Go easy on text

Facebook abandoned it’s confusing 20% text rule some time ago and replaced it with another, more confusing guideline that categorises your image as:

  • OK
  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

You can use the Facebook text overlay tool to see which category your image falls into.

Too much text and Facebook will limit the reach of your ad, or so they say. I’ve seen some great results with ads that have a medium to high text overlay.

Having said that, if you want to ensure good deliverability go easy on the text and make sure it’s large enough to be read on a mobile ad.

I love the way United have used the text on this carousel ad

See all of USA's beauty by making the West Coast your first stop.

Posted by United on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

And whilst I’m at it, it’s not just cluttered text that’s a problem

2. Avoid cluttered images

Make sure it’s clear what the Facebook user should be focussing on in the image.


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3. Colour

Without visual content, Facebook is a bland looking place. Blue, black and white it doesn’t scream excitement or interest.

It’s the images and the videos that make it interesting and it’s strong, vibrant colours that grab our attention and our thumbs.

There’s a reason that Facebook has started allowing us to make plain text updates with coloured backgrounds. It’s the colour, the visual impact that stops the thumb.

So when you are sourcing images or designing them focus on vibrant eye-catching colour.

Who wouldn’t be attracted to this Whoppee pie?

How can you resist the image below?! The best gourmet food shipped right to your door. Don't miss out this holiday season!

Posted by Goldbely on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

4. Faces

In 2017 the person or people behind your business are what matter. Customers are tired of faceless brands, they want to see you, your team, your customers.

Luckily as small businesses, this is something we can do relatively easily. Choose images that represent your customers or use photos you’ve taken yourself of you, your team, your suppliers or customers.

A person looking out of the screen at us can stop that thumb.

I loved this recent ad from The Westbury Hotel in Dublin showcasing their doorman.

We pride ourselves on a quality service from start to finish with our staff at the heart of that service. Our Concierge Joe Daly is ready and waiting to greet you.

Posted by The Westbury on Thursday, February 16, 2017

5. Video

Facebook loves video. I’ve found that including a video rather than, or as well as an image in an ad will get you extra reach, engagement and results.

But isn’t making video hard work?

It doesn’t have to be. Facebook has its own tool for creating slideshows from multiple photographs. The movement as it transitions from one slide to the next can be enough to grab attention.

I prefer to make the videos myself first so I can use them elsewhere. Flipagram is an app that lets you do exactly what the slideshow video function on Facebook does. You can adjust the speed, add captions and download the result to your phone.

You should also experiment with shooting video yourself. I’ve been creating a lot of video on my phone recently and have started trialling them in ads.

Be aware, if you are making video that people rarely click to turn on the sound. For that reason, if there is speaking in your video you’ll need to caption it. The new Apple Clips app is pretty amazing at doing this, in real time, as you speak.

Here’s a cute video ad from 7-Eleven. Not only do we see a person but it’s a quirky fun video that is bound to resonate with the target market.

KRISPY SKREMES in store NOW!!!!!! #Halloween

Posted by 7-Eleven Australia on Thursday, October 15, 2015

6. Emotion

Can you make someone smile, laugh, cry, gasp? Can you make them curious with your ad imagery? In the same way that emotionally charged text will grab your attention emotional images will too.

This picture certainly has the awww factor.

If this doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will! <3

Posted by Puppies Way on Friday, January 1, 2016

Image sizing

You’ll need different sized images for different types of ad and different placements.

Bookmark Jon Loomer’s frequently updated image dimensions for Facebook chart for easy reference.

If you use a tool like Canva you’ll find template sizes relating to the most common ad types.

Still stuck for ad inspiration?

Try some of these tools. I picked most of the examples in this post from the Ad Espresso gallery and the rest from my swipe file.

Your visuals are what will sell your ad, stop the thumb scroll, grab attention and inspire people to take action. Don’t make it a last minute consideration. Spend some time creating graphics and videos that will pop out of the feed.

And then split test them. It’s often surprising which images do best.

Your Turn

Do you have any tips for better ad images? Have you tried something quirky that has worked? Tell me about it below.

 

Are You Ready To Create Thumb Stopping Facebook Ad Visuals To Grow Your Reach and Results?
Are You Ready To Create Thumb Stopping Facebook Ad Visuals To Grow Your Reach and Results?
How I Became A YoYo Productivity Dieter (And How I Fixed It)
How I Became A YoYo Productivity Dieter (And How I Fixed It)

Trying to be productive is like being on a diet. You’ll be trundling along for a while making progress and then you slip.

So here I am again, the night before my podcast is to go live and I’m writing. What went wrong and what did I achieve? Listen to find out.



The story so far…

If you’ve been following this series you’ll know I set myself the goal of getting a month ahead with my blog content. I was tired of the last minute rush, I wanted time to write better and to edit.

And I made progress. I started last week by conducting a time audit. I wanted to see how long tasks actually took in comparison to the time I thought they would take.

It was a great task in itself. I got a lot of work done just by knowing the timer was ticking. I got 1.5 days ahead with my content, a small but encouraging start.

My task this week was to put that data to work. I was inspired by Darren Rowse (yes again). Back in episode 40 of the Problogger podcast  he shared his productivity tips. He talked about his weekly schedule. In it he assigned time slots for his weekly tasks.

Now that I knew how long stuff actually took I intended to do the same.

If you joined me in auditing your time you can follow my process. If you didn’t there’s no reason why you can’t join in now.

How to create a recurring weekly schedule

Step 1. Analyse your data

I started by scrutinising the time-sheets I had completed. There were seven in all (it seems I have problems counting a working week of five days).

To do this I created an excel spreadsheet.

The headers for each column:

  • Day of the week
  • Task
  • Category (type of work)
  • Time spent

I colour coded the sheet by day of the week.

Now I had the data in a worksheet I could start to answer some questions.

Question 1: How long do I work each day

As you will know if you work for yourself, the length of time we work each day can be an issue. At the beginning we work every hour we can sacrificing sleep, relationships, pretty much everything in our lives for getting our project off the ground.

Once our business has started to grow we need to take a reality check, however much we love our job we need to have time away from it.

To calculate the time spent working each day I calculated the sum of time spent on business related tasks over the seven days and I divided it by seven.

The answer, 10 hours a day. That’s 10 hours productive work a day which isn’t bad.

Your task

Find out how many hours you are actively working each week and day

Question 2. What was I spending my time on?

When I started this process I identified some key areas that I needed to assign weekly time to:

  • Client work
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Learning
  • Admin

I’ve decided to add in one more category to my weekly schedule and that’s business planning, something I spend very little time on at the moment.

Looking at my spreadsheet I was able to see how many hours a week I spent on each of these categories and what percentage of my week this represented.

I like a good pie chart so here it is.

how do i spend my time
I spend most of my time on client work (unsurprisingly)

I guess I’m not really doing sales!

So unsurprisingly client work was the category I spent the most time on. Marketing came second.

Your task

Don’t be tied to my categories. You might want to get even more granular and compare how long you spend on social media compared to blogging.

Make a list of the categories you want to add to your week

Question 3: How long do specific tasks take?

I can now stop fooling myself about how long it takes me to do big tasks like podcasting, video making or blogging. I have my data.

Scarily, according to my timsheets a podcast takes me approximately four hours to record, write and upload. A video takes slightly longer and that’s without procrastination.

Now I know this I can allocate time more realistically in future and I’m able to decide if the results I get are worth the time expense.

Your task

Make a list of these time hungry, recurring tasks and calculate the time it takes to complete them.

Step 2. Mapping out the week

This was the bit I’d been aiming for. Darren had persuaded me when I listened to his podcast that a weekly schedule would reduce stress and I’d get *everything* done. At this stage I hadn’t actually looked at his schedule but I had the idea, I’d listened to that podcast more than once.

It turns out Darren uses a Google calendar (something I might use next week).

I chose a whiteboard and some coloured dry wipe markers (you’ll be familiar with these if you watch my Facebook Live).

I like the whiteboard because when I mess it up I can erase and start again.

I drew out the working week on the whiteboard and used a purple marker to allocate recurring tasks to days. Some of this was easy. I already do weekly social media updates on a Monday morning. Every Friday I do the Facebook Live, Tuesday mornings are stat days.

It was harder to map out other tasks. I needed to allocate five hours a day to client work. Some weeks there may be more some less but I realised that a lot of the work I did was prep work. If I’m smart I can pre-load client work by reviewing the courses I run and I can get ahead with the Facebook campaigns I run.

I also need to schedule eight hours a week for blogging/podcasting/video content. At the moment I’ve allocated two half days a week but I can see myself breaking this down into sections later on.

I’ve given myself two hours for learning on a Friday as well as an hour for my favourite thing (sarcasm) bookkeeping.

I think it’s important when you’re completing your weekly schedule to try and leave some flexibility. Like a diet when you try to be too regimented you’ll eventually find it too hard to keep.

So far so good. Now all I need to do is test it, does this weekly plan work.

Your task

You don’t have to use a whiteboard. You can use pen and paper, Google calendar like Darren Rowse, or something else.

Look at the chunks of time you need to allocate in the week and find a recurring time you can schedule it for.

So what went wrong?

Why am I sitting here on a Wednesday evening writing? Why haven’t I recorded the podcast that is due out in the morning?

The answer? We had a bank holiday and I didn’t allow for it.

I remember when I started working for myself I ignored bank holidays, I ignored weekends but now I look forward to them just like everyone else. Time out of the office, with friends and family, recharges my batteries. It means that when Monday morning comes I don’t’ get the blues, instead I’m dying to get back to work again.

But if you’re going to be productive you have to allow for bank holidays. You need to plan around them. I didn’t. Squeezing five days of work into four has put me behind schedule again.

I also lost my voice. I attempted to record my audio diary but the squeaks and coughs would make you want to switch off. Today I have most of my voice back. Tomorrow I will record.

What now?

I’m not going to let this setback get me down. I’m still a day, well less than a day ahead and by this time next week I’m aiming to be three days ahead.

Next week in the final part of this series on making better use of your time I’ll be looking at how you can put systems in place to improve your productivity. I’ll also be trialling two tools recommended by the Small Business Bloggers Facebook group. Wunderlist and Trello.

 

Improve your blog. Follow my weekly blogging challenges as I try to create a better blog. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe on Stitcher

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How I Became A YoYo Productivity Dieter (And How I Fixed It)
How I Became A YoYo Productivity Dieter (And How I Fixed It)
What Should You Be Spending On Your Facebook Ads?
What Should You Be Spending On Your Facebook Ads?

It’s an almost impossible question to answer yet it’s one I find myself estimating over and over again to a varying degree of success. How much should you spend on your Facebook ads?

There are lots of answers I could give you. I could tell you that you set the daily or lifetime budget and Facebook works out the rest.

I could tell you that the minimum spend for an ad set is €1 a day but I can’t tell you exactly what results you should expect for that.

I could tell you that the cost per result will depend on audience size or as Facebook say, it will be the ads that provide:

” …positive, relevant experiences for people using Facebook, Instagram or Audience Network”

that see the best cost per result.

How much should you spend on Facebook ads?

Testing

In reality, for each new client, I have to test. The cost per result will depend on:

  • The objective of the ad
  • The size of the audience we are targeting
  • How competitive the audience we’re targeting are
  • Where they live
  • How much our ads appeal to our audience

With all these variables it’s essential that we keep honing our ads, that we split test them and keep a keen eye on results.

How to estimate ad results

All this seems a bit vague but we can, with a little more investigation make a good guestimate of how much it’s going to cost us to get the results we want.

In Ads manager, when you are setting up the ad you can find out how much Facebook anticipates your results are going to cost.

Set up your ad as usual, when you get to the budget section click ‘Manual’ under ‘Bid Amount’. Here you’ll see what Facebook estimates it will cost to meet your objective.

facebook ad budget estimate
Find out how much Facebook anticipates your ad results will cost

We’re just using the manual bid option here to get an estimate, you can return to ‘Automatic Bid’ once you have made a note of the costs.

How to keep ad spend at €1 per day

In 2015 I wrote about Facebook ads and how much you could get for a €1 a day. Since then Facebook has increased the minimum spend on website click ads and app instal ads.

The minimum daily spend for a website clicks ad set is now €5 a day. Although it’s not going to break the bank, for a small business wanting to split test and experiment with multiple ad sets for one campaign it’s a little high.

There is a way to get around the €5 minimum spend.

Go back to the budget section in ads manager and click ‘more options’ next to ‘When you will get charged’.

Click 'more options' next to 'When you will be charged'
Click ‘more options’ next to ‘When you will be charged’

Select ‘Impression’

Select 'impressions' to get access to a lower daily budget
Select ‘impressions’ to get access to a lower daily budget

Once you’ve selected this option Facebook will let you set a minimum budget of €1 per day for your ad.

What to keep an eye on

Facebook grades your ads for relevance. An ad with a high relevance score will reach more people and get better results than an ad with a low relevance score. It will also ensure that you compete favourably against others targeting the same audience.

Relevance is based on how well your audience reacts to your ads. You can view your relevance scores for recent campaigns in ads manger in the ads section.

A higher relevance score ensures better results
A higher relevance score ensures better results

The real measure

So far I’ve shown you how to measure results within Facebook but the real results are measured on your website or in your business.

It’s great when you get a good cost per click but what are people doing when they arrive on your site? Don’t stop measuring on Facebook.

Use tracking links and Google analytics to follow your Facebook audience as they move through your site. Use the Facebook pixel to measure conversions but set up goals in your Google Analytics to verify them.

So how much should you spend?

As you can see there is no right answer. If you’re new to ads and experimenting start with a low budget. Make a note of your cost per result for each ad type you run so you have something to benchmark against.

Experiment with your audiences, your placements and your creatives and you’ll soon be able to gauge what the real cost is.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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What Should You Be Spending On Your Facebook Ads?
What Should You Be Spending On Your Facebook Ads?
How To Audit Your Time - My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2
How To Audit Your Time – My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2

How long are you spending on digital marketing each week? You can guess or you can know.

This is part two in a series of podcasts and posts on getting ahead with your blog content. Last week I set the challenge. This week I’m measuring time.

How long do we actually spend on digital marketing?

People ask me this question all the time and I tend to fumble the answer. I don’t want to lie but I don’t actually have the statistics.

I think I spend a day a week on content but is that true? If I’m going to get ahead with my content I need to know the answer. I also want to know where on earth all that other time is getting spent.

Find out how I got on this week including my audio diary



Where I am now:

Good routine

Last week my sister in law revealed that she thought I worked in my PJ’s. I was horrified. I’m 12 years into running my own business and I’d say I probably work in my PJ’s maybe four days a year, usually because I’m sick.

No, I like most workers have a daily routine.

I get up at 6am, I shower, dress, have breakfast, read the social media news and I’m sitting at my desk at 7.30am.

I take a lunch break and try and finish work by 7pm

The routine has been crucial for keeping me productive. If you don’t have a daily routine yet, implement one, it’s going to help your productivity no end.

Working space

When I started my first business I had a laptop sized space on a desk. Stuff, cluttery stuff (not mine) surrounded me. I’ve grown over time and now I have a room in my home. I have a big desk that is almost empty. I have space to think and work and more importantly, I can close the door at the end of the day and switch work off.

It’s good for my head and it’s great for my productivity. My office is where I go to work and that’s it. I installed a PlayStation here two years ago but I think I’ve only used it once since I did.

This isn’t a space for non-work related fun.

If you can’t find space in your home look for co-working space elsewhere. You’ll always be more productive if you have an allocated working area.

Break times

It’s so easy to skip lunch. I know office workers who sit at their desks for lunch but I try to get out of my four walls for at least 1/2 an hour a day. Going for a walk, getting a bit of shopping, even eating in a different room will reset my brain. I come up with some of my best ideas over lunch.

It’s easy to think you don’t have time for lunch or a break but your productivity will go up, you’ll procrastinate less if you switch off for even a short time during the working day. If you haven’t tried it yet give it a shot.

The goal

If I want to achieve my goal I need to write one blog post a day for the next 2 weeks.

A series like this is handy, I already made progress. I wrote a chunk of this the week before publication and I’m finishing it two days ahead. It’s not a lot but it’s better than my recent last minute rushing.

To see how I can find time in my week to write content I first need to find out how much time creation is already taking.

Enter, the time sheet

Use the timesheet to audit your time
Use the timesheet to audit your time

How long do tasks actually take?

It seems like this would be an easy question to answer but I know I’ve been getting it wrong. I plan my day every day, I allocate chunks of time to tasks yet I still seem to be behind schedule by lunchtime. The only way that you can actually know how long you are spending doing tasks is by timing them.

I created a timesheet to keep a record of the time spent. I have become a slave to the stopwatch on my phone that keeps a record of the time I’ve spent.

The timesheet I’ve created contains 5 Columns

  • Task: The task at hand
  • Allocated Time: How long I thought it would take
  • Actual Time: How long it really took (timed using the stopwatch on my phone)
  • Distractions: What got in the way of me doing it faster. Include procrastination, unexpected phone calls, interruptions from the cats here
  • Category: At the end of the week I want to know how much time I spent on marketing, work prep, paid work, admin etc. So I’m giving each task a category.

There’s a section for additional tasks completed and how long they take. I added this because some days I’ll have a task from an email to complete that I hadn’t planned or I’d suddenly find some time to do an additional task, it all needs to be measured.

I create a new form every morning and pin it on my wall. The plan is to run this system for a working week so I can assess my time better.

Problems

The first issue that I encountered was that I was rushing. I saw the time as a challenge and was working really hard to get stuff done in that time. It’s great to be hyper-productive like that but just like a crash diet is unsustainable.

It’s not possible to keep going at that pace. It’s the tasks that I think about and spend time on that I do best. I had to take a step back.

The purpose of the timesheet wasn’t for me to work faster, at least not yet, it was to know how long tasks actually took.

Once I slowed down I settled into the system. I’m happy logging my time at a sustainable pace.

If you’re interested in hearing my blow by blow audio diary on working with the time sheet be sure to listen to the podcast above.


If you want to join the challenge download your timesheet here


What I’ve learned so far

It’s early days but I’ve already started being more efficient. When you are working against the clock you begin to understand how important that time is. I’ve created some checklists, the wall behind my desk is beginning to fill up with them. These ensure I don’t have to go back over and over again to edit something I haven’t completed properly.

My wall is filling with checklists
My wall is filling with checklists

Knowing exactly how long tasks are taking means I’m looking for ways to do the tasks more efficiently. I’d already implemented some systems in my routine tasks but I’m looking at adding more.

How far ahead am I after week one?

Let’s not take our eye off the ball. I’m trying to get a month ahead with content. Currently, I’m 1 day ahead. Not a great step forward but I know after I understand my time better and allocate it better I will get there. My goal for next week is to be three days ahead.

What’s next?

My next task is to map out my week realistically. Now I know how long things take I want to find regular timeslots for them in my working week. We’ll discuss that in next week’s episode.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here to make sure you don’t miss it.

 

Improve your blog. Follow my weekly blogging challenges as I try to create a better blog. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe on Stitcher

“Improve

 

How To Audit Your Time - My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2
How To Audit Your Time – My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2