Using Facebook to Generate Leads for Your Business

Facebook Lead Gen

Facebook ads can be highly effective for more than just page likes – did you know you can generate high quality leads using a new feature in Power Editor? That’s right – whether you’re a salon owner, a graphic designer or a plumber, Facebook ads can work for you and help to drive your sales!

My hubby’s family owns a septic business so we run Facebook ads on a regular basis to reach new people. When we reached over 400 page likes I started experimenting with different types of Facebook ads to see what is most effective. We had established an active, engaged audience so I wanted to see what would drive sales.

Using Facebook Ads Manager you can run basic campaigns to increase page likes, increase website clicks or promote an offer or event. Keep in mind – for any campaign, less is more. For a small business spending $100 or less on ads each month, stick to a budget of $5-$10 per day. This will allow you to run ads for a number of days before hitting your budget so you achieve maximum visibility.

Running a basic ad for website clicks I did see a spike when I reviewed our Google Analytics, but I found that using Local Awareness and Lead Generation Campaigns was more effective for creating customers. Both options are available when you use Power Editor to create your campaign. Simply login to Facebook, click on Ads Manager, then at the top menu click on Power Editor. This will open in a new window and allow you to create highly customized ads.

In Power Editor, click on Create Campaign to get started and follow the steps provided. Power Editor makes it simple to schedule your ads ahead of time and now you can save your audience so if your ad is successful you can target those people again! To generate quality leads, choose the Lead Generator option from the “campaign type” drop down. You can then customize your campaign – choose a photo that showcases what you do, add a description that clear and tells people why they should click on your ad, and most importantly, select your lead gen form or create one. This is the form that potential customers will fill out when they click on the call to action button. For the service industry, I suggest using “Get a Quote” as your call to action.  My ad description usually says something like, “Request a quote today and save $5 on your septic pumping! One of our technicians will be in contact within 24 hours.) Notice I was to the point, I offered incentive and I gave instructions.

When a potential customer clicks the “Get a Quote” button, instead of being directed to the business website, the lead gen form pops up. They are prompted to enter their name, email and phone number and answer up to 3 questions. You can customize this any way you like! We use the questions – “How can we help you?” and “What services are you interested in?” Facebook allows you to create multiple choice answers and when a potential customer fills out the form you can download their responses as an Excel file. You can also customize the info you need – we stick to name, phone number and email but you can ask for other demographics like address, age or gender. Not only does this work – it’s effective! Instead of seeing that you got a bunch of clicks to your website or new page likes, the lead gen form collects specific information for you so that you can contact potential customers directly and set up service! Last week we spent about $40 and scheduled over $400 in pumping jobs.

Local Awareness campaigns don’t have the contact form feature, but they allow you to target people who live within your service area. This is another effective type of campaign for small businesses. Using Power Editor, simply select the Local Awareness option and then follow the steps provided. I suggest using this type of ad if you have an event, a sale or you simply want to increase your reach. You can spend as little as $5 per day and see results.

If you have questions about running Facebook ads or you’re not sure where to start – contact me today for a free consultation! Hope this was helpful.

~ Rachel

 

 

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Work From Home Mom, Tip #21: Get Outside

 

Getting Outside for a Walk

Tip #21 – Make time to get outside

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you’re working on or to feel bogged down with laundry, dirty dishes, a fussy baby etc. There are days I feel overwhelmed and realize I’ve hardly accomplished anything on my to-do list and I just need a “reset” so I can clear my head and focus. On days like those  (and today was one of them) it’s so helpful to get outside and take a mental break.

Not only is the fresh air good for you, but studies show Vitamin D can also be a mood booster. I know this is true for me, especially this time of year when it’s getting dark by 5 pm. If I don’t have time for a walk I’ll check the mail and play fetch with our 100 lb labradoodle for a few minutes – he loves the attention and I love the way a little time spent outdoors can help me clear my thoughts and refocus on writing or design, whatever it is I’m working on.

If you’re struggling to build a routine or stay motivated working from home, try getting outside on a daily basis and see how much better you feel – and how much more focused you can be. It’s worth it!

-Rachel

Direct Mail Still Works

Yes, you read it – Direct mail still works. As a marketer you’re probably skeptical, and I was too, but I can tell you for select industries direct mail is still effective.

People are no longer looking for remodelers, movers, or painters in their mailboxes – but they are holding onto fliers from their favorite pizza places, Chinese restaurants and septic pumpers! People love coupons and anyone that leaves menu at your door is probably offering sweet deal. As for septic pumping – most people have no idea who to call so when they receive a flier, they hold onto it (especially if there’s a coupon)!

My husband’s family has a septic company and I’ve been amazed at how successful direct mail has been for them. In our area, most townships require people who have septic systems to have them pumped every 2-4 years. Because there’s a “schedule” so to speak, it makes it simple to figure out when you should do a direct mail blast. Within days of sending out fliers, the business will get phone calls from people calling to schedule their pumping because they got their “reminder” in the mail.

The best thing about direct mail is that it’s cheap! Yes, it can add up when you send thousands of postcards or fliers, but the ROI is huge. I use Next Day Flyers btw – the cheapest printing costs I’ve found. What I’ve learned through direct mail, is that when it comes to marketing you have to do what works! In most industries nowadays, direct mail is not effective, but for the septic business, it is.

Before you jump into any new marketing endeavor, think about how you would make a purchasing decision – would you hold onto a flier from a service provider? Would you search online? Would you go to a place like Angie’s List or ask a friend? If you wouldn’t do it, chances are others won’t either so don’t waste your money.

Email marketing is a big one these days that’s effective for some industries and not for others. Email marketing is much more effective for ecommerce sellers than service providers. Again, think about how you make purchasing decisions. If you get an email from Amazon or Macy’s, you might click through to see what sales they’re having or to use a coupon code – but if you get an email from your local plumber you’re probably wondering why you’re on their email list and the message goes straight to the “trash.”

But back to direct mail… Here’s one of the most effective direct mail postcards I created for John Kline Septic Services this year. Key features include a well-branded color scheme, bold fonts and of course, a coupon!

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Holiday Pinterest Board Ideas for Your Ecommerce Business

Holiday Pinterest Ideas

As the holidays draw near it’s more important than ever to begin promoting your products! Pinterest is an awesome social media site for eCommerce sellers that lets you do just that. By creating Pinterest boards that others want to follow, your products can be viewed by countless potential customers – the key is to get creative with your boards! The most popular categories on Pinterest are as follows:

1. Home (17.2%)
2. Arts and Crafts (12.4%)
3. Style/Fashion (11.7%)
4. Food (10.5%)
5. Inspiration/Education (9.0%)
6. Holidays/Seasonal (3.9%)
7. Humor (2.1%)
8. Products (2.1%)
9. Travel (1.9%)
10. Kids (1.8%)

These are the kinds of things people are pinning, so think of ways to get your products in the mix. Holidays are the perfect time to create new boards with seasonal themes. You can do it with food, home decor, fashion, quotes, you name it – the list goes on! Successful pins have well-written descriptions and with the introduction of Pinterest ads – you no longer need hashtags. If you’re selling on Etsy you don’t need to change your product links because when you renew a listing the URL stays the same, but if you’re selling on eBay consider linking your pins to the appropriate category within your store instead of the exact item. This can be tedious but it’s worth it – you don’t want to send people to a link that says the product is no longer listed or the item has been sold.

Now, the fun part – creating holiday boards! I have clients in a variety of industries so I thought I’d make a list of some ideas that have proven successful. I love getting ready for the holidays, don’t you?!

Clothing and Jewelry

  • Fancy Holiday Party Outfits
  • What to wear: New Year’s Eve
  • Holiday Hair and Makeup Tips
  • Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Themed Party Ideas
  • Gifts for Her

Homegoods and Housewares

  • Holiday Tabletops
  • How do you hang your Christmas stockings?
  • Curb Appeal Tips – Wreaths, Lights, DIY
  • Christmas Tree Ideas
  • Holiday Drink Recipes
  • Christmas Cookies, Pies, Novelty Desserts (Be specific – “Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas” is better than “Holiday Desserts”)

Accessories, Handbags, Novelty Products

  • Stocking Stuffer Ideas (for men, kids, women – you can make multiple boards)
  • Packing Tips for Holiday Travel
  • Secret Santa Gift Ideas
  • Teacher Gift Ideas
  • Fun Ways to Say Merry Christmas
  • Gag Gifts or White Elephant Gifts

Vintage and Antique Items

  • Holiday Collectibles
  • Christmas Through the Decades

Books and Games

  • Holiday Family Traditions
  • The Best Books to Read this Christmas
  • A Book is a Gift You Can Open Again & Again

Kids and Baby Products or Clothing

  • Baby’s First Christmas
  • Family Christmas Photo Ideas
  • Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Happy Pinning!

10 Tips for Working from Home (with a Baby)

working from home

1. Create a schedule
When I first began working from home I had only a few clients and could get most of my writing done at the beginning of the week leaving me with a few “free” days for running errands etc. That is no longer the case so a schedule has become essential. My schedule doesn’t dictate what time of day I work on things, but it does tell me what needs to be done each day. Mondays – Pinterest, Tuesdays – Blogging, etc.

2. Make a to-do list
I keep a simple Excel sheet with a list of my clients, what needs to be done and when. I date everything when it comes to social media management so that I remember when I last worked on something and when those social media accounts will need to be worked on again. Being able to schedule posts ahead of time is a huge advantage but I try not to go more than two weeks out because a lot can change during that time and I always want posts to be relevant. For additional items like “Buy dog food” or “Pick up dry cleaning” I use the app Evernote. It’s FREE and a great way to remember things. It syncs between my phone and laptop so no matter what I’m working on I have access to my latest notes or reminders.

3. Plan ahead
I like to stay at least one week ahead when it comes to content creation – this way if something comes up it’s not the end of the world. When you work from home it feels like you have all the time in the world to complete tasks but at the end of the day with a fussy baby there are moments I find myself saying “What did I do today??” If you know your little one is acting fussier than usual, plan ahead and get an extra hour of work done when he or she goes to bed, so that if you lose time the next day it’s okay. I also make sure to keep Dr. appointments, meetings and anything else on the same calendar so that I can plan around things and be prepared.

4. Take advantage of nap time
This is a big one. I will make sure to save my most challenging work for nap time. I try to do things like vacuuming, folding laundry and household chores when baby is awake because it doesn’t matter if I’m interrupted a million times, but when it comes to writing, design or content planning – nap time it is!

5. Be willing to be flexible
I recently read the quote “Perfectionism is the enemy of Hustle.” I think this is perfect for remembering to stay flexible. When you have a baby toddling around nothing is ever going to be perfect and this has taken me a while to learn. I am seriously OCD when it comes to my home and keeping things tidy but at the end of the day that doesn’t get things done.

6. Schedule phone calls
When you have a baby the worst thing that can happen is an unexpected phone call during nap time or a door bell ring followed by incessant barking and chaos from your 100lb dog. (Maybe that’s just in our household haha) Regardless, nothing can mess up your day like an unexpected 30 minute conversation when you could have done a bunch of other more important things during that time. I ask all of my clients to email first and if they need to talk on the phone that’s fine but I schedule my calls in advance so 1. I can be prepared and 2. It doesn’t mess up nap time and 3. It doesn’t interfere with my other work.

7. Plan time to check and respond to emails.
Email can be a major time-sucker. Unless it’s urgent I don’t open it right away – this way it remains highlighted so I know I need to come back to it. I try to check and respond in the morning and again later in the day. As much as I want to be available to my clients, email can become a serious interruption to other work. I find I can write a better response when it’s not rushed and I’m not doing other things so setting a time for email checking and responding has proven valuable.

8. Designate a work space
I love that working from home means I can work wherever, but I like some stability so when I sit down I know, “okay, it’s work time.” We have an “office” but I hate it. It’s secluded and baby girl has no room to play. I have commandeered the breakfast bar in the kitchen as my work space instead – there’s ample space for me to spread out papers, drink my coffee and plenty of outlets for chargers. Plus I can put baby Kline in her walker or jumper and let her go to town, all within watching distance. Having a work space is great – even my dog knows when I’m sitting here I’m not to be bothered.

9. Limit distractions
Okay, we all have our lazy work from home days when we catch up on our favorite shows or watch the Today Show for an hour but when it comes down to it I cannot do my best work with the TV on. Even catchy music can get distracting for me so I limit myself to a few classical Pandora stations for some welcome background noise. I highly recommend “Piano Guys” radio to anyone that loves music – it’s all instrumental versions of your favorite songs so it’s fun but not distracting. I’ve also learned to successfully tune out Disney radio but sometimes when Frozen comes on I just have to belt out “Let it go!” for the world to hear. (baby girl thinks I’m a great singer!)

10. Enjoy your little ones while you can!
The best part of working from home is getting to spend time with your little one (s) so do it! They may be your biggest inspiration when it comes to your next creative assignment and when I’m stressed nothing is better than some quiet time nursing my baby girl. Don’t forget why you’re working from home to begin with. “Work” can always wait or you can catch up on something when the kids are in bed.

What are your top tips for working from home with kids? I’d love to hear them!

– Rachel

7 Skills Awesome Social Media Manager’s Have Mastered

Tulip Garden

Lots of small businesses use someone in-house for their social media needs and it turns into a “blind leading the blind” scenario.  Just because the girl at the front desk has the newest iPhone, does not mean she can take great pictures or post engaging content. There’s nothing wrong with using someone in-house to manage your company’s social media pages, but before you ask someone to do it, there are some things you should consider. An awesome social media manager will possess each of these skills and know how to truly engage your target audience which is the goal of social media. So before assigning the task to someone in-house, ask yourself these questions or make this checklist a part of your hiring plan:

  1. Does your potential social media manager understand your business and know how to use a consist “voice” when it comes to posting content? Is their “voice” appropriate for your company and your target audience?
  2. Does this person have excellent writing skills? You want to make sure anything you’re posting on social media is an example of your best work. Typos and grammatical errors are simply unacceptable from someone that is acting as the “voice” of your company.
  3. Is this person knowledgeable of industry trends, pop culture, local events and holidays? You want your social media manager to relate to your target audience – they might be an expert in your business but if they can’t make a connection between what your business does and what consumers want to hear about you’re in trouble. Your social media manager doesn’t have to be young, but someone who’s well connected and knows how to use trending topics is a must.
  4. Does your potential social media manager have a new smart phone that’s capable of taking great photos? If not, consider supplying this. Photos are essential for social media and you need to make sure the person you’re entrusting your social media with knows how to take good pictures. Again, anything you’re posting online is a reflection of your company. Make sure the person who’s posting is capable of posting top-notch photos.
  5. Does this person know how to use apps like PicMonkey or Canva for creating social media graphics? If the answer is no, you’re dealing with an amateur. Sit down and review the apps together and get a better idea of your potential smm’s capabilities. Do they have an eye for detail? Are they able to create visually appealing graphics, headers etc?
  6. Is this person good at managing their time? Do they know how to schedule posts ahead of time? Social media can become a distraction if it’s not managed wisely. You want to make sure your smm is capable of scheduling posts ahead of time and staying productive. You also want to be sure this person will be attentive and quick to respond to comments and messages when necessary.
  7. Does this person have any experience with social media ads? Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all offer affordable ways to advertise and promote events. If you want to take advantage of ads make sure your smm knows how to run a successful campaign – or is willing to learn. There’s nothing wrong with learning as you go, but makes sure whoever you’ve trusted with your social media is honest enough to admit when they need help or additional training. There are countless tutorials and webinars that can help you learn about ads, graphics and other features. Another way to learn is to follow social media blogs that share tips, best practices and more!

If you don’t feel confident using someone in-house for your social media you’re not alone. Many businesses these days are hiring marketing firms to manage their social media for them, but some come at a steep price. If price is an issue, look for a freelancer or someone that’s just starting out in the marketing business. If you’d like more information or pricing info for HighleyDesigned Marketing & Creative, I’m happy to set up a FREE 20 minute consultation. Use the contact form on my “About” page.

Thanks!