Why Your Business Should Want More Reviews on Review Sites

The importance of responding to customers online could not be more prevalent as reviews continue to grow more than ever before. Aside from the fact that reviews from customers help others decide whether they should visit a business or not, reviews are now more prevalent on search results pages—meaning a lot of eyes can see what is being said about your company online.

The influence that reviews have on shoppers is staggering: more than 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions (Webrepublic, 2015). Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers. With so many review websites out there, where does a business even begin? Your business may be afraid to manage customer reviews on review sites as you may not want to end up in one of these situations:

  • receive zero reviews
  • receive zero recent online reviews
  • receive negative online reviews
  • or, your business simply has unmanaged online reviews across multiple review websites

Unfortunately, your business is missing out. This lack of free online word of mouth is actually hurting your business through inaction, because reputation drives conversion.

1) Business reviews and social posts help shape your company’s online reputation

In fact, one of the worst things your business can do is ignore your online reviews and social posts. As easy as it is to make a mistake when handling your business’s online reputation, it can also be easy to recover if done properly (and with apology). While damage will inevitably happen, your business can take steps to mitigate the degree of damage that can occur. The biggest mistake of all your company can make is not participating in helping to shape the conversation about your company online.

2) Business reviews provide valuable feedback for your business

While it can be easy for your business to take negative comments to heart, it is important to recognize that reviews are constructive feedback. All in all, reviews are valuable feedback! They help your company gauge their performance and see how you can improve. There is always room for improvement and a lot can be learned even from positive business reviews. Through reviews, your business can see which products or services you should be boasting, which needs work, and even discover which employees rock at customer service.

3) Your business reviews can now appear in search results

Search engines have caught on to the popularity of reviews and are now displaying them more prominently. So, if someone searches for your business, there is a chance that reviews from review websites could be displayed on the search engine results pages. In Google’s markup—the annotated content that appears in search—of a company or product, business reviews and ratings can now be included in search results. In other words, when a user performs a search on Google, Google will find and possibly display review summaries from online business reviews and consumer ratings. Below is an example of how business reviews now showing up in search results.

How can businesses get more reviews?

There are a variety of methods your business can employ to ask for more business reviews, including emailing consumers manually, using surveys, asking consumers to leave reviews with codes and review sites on their receipts, or utilizing review generation software to automate the business review process.

Three important review website management tips:

1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top review sites

It’s a good idea to add or claim a listing or business profile on the most popular review sites (unless your business doesn’t fit with the niche), correct your business’s listing information and start getting more business reviews!

2) Your business should keep asking customers for reviews

Asking the average customer for a review can be hard work. Granted, it is often easiest to get reviews from consumers that are either really happy or really unhappy with the level of service they were provided. Your business should always remember to ask as customers are busy creatures and will not remember unless they are asked or reminded to leave feedback.

3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on review sites

Why not just ask for business reviews or testimonials on your business’s website? Well, asking consumers to leave a review on your business’s website seems a lot more screened and inauthentic than simply asking consumers to leave reviews on a trusted review site. Since the review site is a third party, it feels more open for customers to leave an honest, unbiased review.

Business reviews are here to stay

In conclusion, there’s no getting away from business reviews. The good news is that there are methods to get more business reviews as well as effectively managing reviews from customers. Also, businesses needn’t fear negative online reviews, as there are ways to negate the effect of negative reviews.

Get Listed on the Local Search “Big Four”

You may not be aware of it now, but it’s likely that your business has suffered at the hands of incorrect business listings.

And as a customer I’m sure you know from experience the impact it can have. To put it bluntly, when someone is trying to buy a product or service and an incorrect listing makes that process more challenging, that customer will waste no time finding another place to spend their hard earned money.

Don’t let your customers lose out on business because of incorrect listings—claim and correct them instead!


Out with the old, in with the new

As you are probably aware phone books are starting to corner the doorstop and firestarter market. As tech-savvy generations age and account for larger percentages of our population, target customers are continuing to shift further away from paper and toward digital. 63% of people under 40 never use phone books to find local listings. This means having your business listed online is critical to tapping into a huge demographic of potential customers in the up-and-coming 80-million Millennial generation.


The Internet’s hottest spots

With 85% of consumers browsing online to find your business, it’s more important than ever to be showing present and accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) data in the internet’s hottest spots. For this article, we will narrow our focus on “The Big Four”: Bing, Yelp, YellowPages and Google. These four listing hubs account for 85% of all search traffic and providing businesses with access to 314 million monthly users, these are the listings you want claimed, corrected and working in your favor for free.

(1) Bing

Bing is a big up-and-comer in the digital world. This engine now accounts for 30% of all searches performed online. That’s a huge amount of traffic for local consumers looking for your business. Accessible from Bing Places, getting a business online is as easy as one, two, three!

(2) Yelp

Traditionally known as a review platform, Yelp has evolved into a one-stop-shop for your businesses to manage information and reviews, as well as post photos, promotions and events for your customers all under the roof of one little listing. Yelp is a huge draw to businesses because it has so much to offer and so much traffic! With up to 36.3 million monthly users looking for reputable and trustworthy businesses, wouldn’t it be great to get found on Yelp? Get started now.

(3) YellowPages

Aptly named for its predecessor, YellowPages (or YP as we more affectionately know it) has taken over where the original Yellow Pages left off. With a built-in user base from its paper days, YellowPages has already wormed its way into customer hearts and become a reliable source for listing information. On top of all that, YP has some of the highest US local search numbers in the game, making it the perfect place for your business to get found online. Get started here and get YellowPages working for those local businesses of yours!

(4) Google

“Just Google it” has become a common phrase in most of our daily lives, so it should come as no surprise that its listing source, Google My Business, makes our Big Four. Unique to the other three, Google’s demographic reaches far beyond the female decision makers, 45+ age group, and $60,000+ income earners using Bing, Yelp and YellowPages. In fact, part of Google My Business’ draw is that its listings are seen by everyone who uses Google. With up to 175 million monthly users across every demographic, that’s a pretty big draw.

Not only does Google My Business get you found in searches, but on Google Maps as well! Accounting for 78% of mobile travel usage, if your business isn’t on found on Google My Business, there’s a good chance it’s not getting found in real life either. Don’t send customers driving around in circles; get your businesses on Google my Business now.


Accuracy really is everything

Now that we’ve talked about where to be listed online, let’s talk about how your business information should be listed online—100% accurately! Customers trust Bing, Yelp, YellowPages and Google to give them the correct information they need to find the business they’re looking for, and when the information is incorrect, customers lose major trust in the brand. Not only can inaccurate business listings and inconsistent NAP data diminish your brand, but did you know it can also affect search engine optimization (SEO)? Yep, you read that right! Listings with false location information are the #1 negative local ranking factor when it comes to SEO. So, not only can false listing data make it hard for customers to find you physically, but online, too.

As you can very well see, being present and being accurate where it matters most in online listings is crucial to survival in today’s dog-eat-dog digital world.

Quality Over Quantity

Businesses don’t always know what they’re getting into with social posting. Most turn to outsourcing because they don’t have the time to get to know the process and learn to navigate social media. They may as well be holding up a big SOS beacon. You need to be an expert in the field so you can provide the best value to your customers.

Most companies agree that “creating compelling content for social media is both the most effective (82%), and most difficult (69%) part of social media marketing tactics.” It’s also one of the most difficult social strategies that brands carry out.

The point is, there’s more to local social media marketing than you might think. There’s a big difference between posting to your personal profile and posting on behalf of your business.


Behind every great business…

… is a group of great people! A business starts with the people who run it and ends with the people who use it. Before thinking about what your business should post or what customers want to see, ask yourself if—as a person— you’d be engaged by that content. If there’s no voice or personality in your business’s online presence, people get disinterested pretty quickly.

Be personal! Connect with your audience. Brands can be promotional and engaging at the same time. Just make sure that the engaging posts outweigh the promotional ones.


The good, the bad and the spammy

Everybody has that one person on Facebook who chokes up their feed with multiple opinion pieces or “buy-my-product” posts. Don’t be that person. Nobody wants to see that from their friends, and guess what? Nobody wants to see it from a business, either.

Focus less yourself and more on your customers. If someone follows your business, they already know what you are selling. There’s no need to over-saturate a feed with links to your website: if it’s listed on the page, followers already know how to get there.

3So what’s the secret? I’ll tell you: providing customers with value is what makes them want to stick around. And I’ll let you in on another secret: businesses don’t have to post something every day to keep that engagement. If you can provide value while posting every day, then by all means, post daily. If that’s not the case, stick to this rule: quality over quantity, folks. Quality wins every time.

What is Digital Advertising and Why Does It Matter?

Digital advertising is the process of using internet technology to deliver promotional advertising to consumers. Digital advertising encompasses promotional ads and messages that are delivered through social media, email, search engine ads, mobile banner ads, affiliate programs and website display ads.

Digital advertising has surpassed traditional advertising

Just how popular is digital advertising? In 2016, the advertising side of the internet ecosystem generated $1.121 trillion for the U.S. economy and is responsible for 10.4 million jobs in the U.S. alone. The increasing popularity of digital advertising and the shift away from the traditional advertising techniques (billboards, newspapers, radio, commercials, etc.) makes sense in this era of connectivity.


Types of digital advertising

Here are some of the most common forms of digital advertising (there are many more):

Social advertising

Ads that rely on social information, platforms or networks to generate, target and deliver advertising. Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are examples of social platforms with a wide network where businesses can target and deliver advertising.

Display ads/Banner ads

Ads (full banners, squares, buttons and skyscrapers) that are served to users on a page when they are not necessarily searching for your product or service. These ads are shown whenever users are surfing online.

Paid search/Search engine advertising

Advertising within the sponsored listings of a search engine site. You pay each time your ad is clicked or when your ad is displayed.

Email advertising

Using email to send advertisements to current contacts and prospective clients. This can include SPAM, which is not a recommended practice.

Some email networks now offer in-email advertising. Gmail, for instance, uses sponsored, in-line ads directly above the email inbox lines.

Affiliate programs/Ad networks

Businesses reward affiliates for bringing them in visitors or customers as the result of the affiliates’ advertising and marketing efforts. The advertising and marketing efforts can include a mix of digital and/or traditional advertising methods.

Mobile advertising

Ads that appear on mobile devices that have wireless connections. Mobile ads can be delivered as text ads via SMS, banner ads embedded in a mobile site or ads that appear in mobile games or downloaded apps.


Native advertising

Rlevant content distributed from a third party’s site. Information is targeted and valuable. Essentially, you’re renting someone else’s content distribution platform and offering helpful content rather than just plugging your product or service.


Digital advertising cost methods

There are many different types of digital advertising costing models available, of which all stem from the three main types:

  • CPA (Cost Per Action): The advertiser pays the ad publisher only if someone clicks AND completes a transaction. Here, all of the risk falls on the publisher of the ad.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): The advertiser pays when the ad gets clicked, but the advertiser’s potential customer does not necessarily have to complete a purchase for the ad publisher to get paid. With PPC, target keywords are very important. This is the most common form of online advertising as it benefits both the advertiser and publisher.
  • CPM (Cost Per Mille): Also called CPT (Cost Per Thousand), the advertiser pays the publisher for exposure based on visitors to the website and the number of eyes on an ad.

Benefits of digital advertising

Digital advertising has gained popularity for many reasons. Here are some of the main ones:

  • It is easier to prove ROI
    Clicks and cost can be tracked and more easily measured than a billboard, so it’s easier to gauge the effectiveness of the ads.
  • It is easier track performance
    Similar to the point prior, it is easier to track the performance and calculate metrics as the ads are in the digital space where it is easier to capture the data.
  • A business can adjust their ad budget more readily
    While certain ad methods like PPC involve a long-game method, in some aspects of digital advertising it is easy to shift and adjust bidding and budgets almost instantaneously.
  • It is more precise at reaching targeted audiences
    Due to the nature of online information and how information about users is stored online, ads can be targeted on demographic information or based on user behavior.
  • Digital advertising can enhance or complement other ad channels in the mix
    For businesses using an omni-channel marketing approach, a digital ad can complement a billboard or radio commercial. The more places a customer is reminded of a business, the more the business is kept top of mind.
  • Increases brand recall
    Similar to the point above, the more times a consumer sees a company’s ads or branding, the more they are likely to keep that business top of mind. With so many brands out there, it is important to stand out from the clutter and be a company that users remember.
  • Increases brand interaction
    A digital ad can lead users directly to a company’s website, to interact with a business on social media or to purchase a product online.
  • Digital ads can accompany users across the entire customer journey
    Digital ad methods can be displayed to users at any stage in the customer journey, from the research stage, to the purchase stage and even further.
  • It is where attention spans are
    Last but not least, most people spend a majority of their time in the digital space. Display ads where people are looking, not where they aren’t.

Digital advertising: the main sell

Why wouldn’t your business move your ad spend to where more eyes and attention spans are concentrated? Seldom are people noticing billboards anymore, as they are usually on their phones sending messages, checking emails or connecting with others on social media platforms. The world has changed and so has the world of advertising. If you aren’t advertising online yet, you may want to consider starting soon. Start adding digital advertising to your marketing mix to start reaping the benefits today.

Creating the Perfect Social Post

What makes for good social posting, anyway? In order to craft the perfect social post, we need to take a look at why people follow businesses in the first place.

  • Interest in services and promotions: People love sales! Don’t get TOO excited though. Over posting this information is also one of the leading reasons people unfollow a business.
  • Updates and information: People are interested in what your business is up to! Have new products? Moving locations? Getting an office dog? Post it!
  • Communication: Social media is for connecting. People want to talk to you, and they want to review your products and services. Make sure you’re responding to them: it shows you care about your customers.
  • Entertainment: Are you not entertained? People use social media to get a break from their humdrum day. Post content that will put a smile on their faces or give them something to think about. Hint: it doesn’t always have to be related to your business.

So now that we’ve got a good idea of what people want to see, how do we make the magic happen? When I write social posts, I use three main guidelines to direct me.


The 3 Golden Rules of Local Social Media Marketing

  • Does it provide value? People engage with content that is relevant to them. Consider whether the post is solving a problem, starting a conversation or educating. People love to share information that is new and exciting. In order to provide the best value to your followers and customers, the vast majority (up to 80%) of your content should be useful or engaging information. In fact, posts promoting the business should only account for 10%-20% of the content.
  • Is it emotionally engaging? People love stories, and they share content they connect with. Don’t be afraid to show the more personal side of your business. Really, who hasn’t teared up during a Coke ad or giggled at the Budweiser Clydesdales? Brands that go the extra mile to create an emotional connection with their customers stick in their memories longer. Why not post a cat video? Everyone loves a cat video.
  • Is it visually stimulating? 1200 pixels are worth 1000 words. We’re talking high quality photos, videos and infographics here! Posts that include visuals get way more (almost 650% more) engagement than those without. Keep in mind that not all visuals are created equal. The best ones are the ones that you take yourself, because they’re local, personal and relevant. If you don’t have the capacity to take photos, reposting from other websites and profiles is a great way to keep your page relevant. Quality stock photos are also great resources, just make sure to pay attention to copyright!

Creating content for social media is essential—you need to be present where your customers are, and they’re on social. While it is free to partake, creating an effective social media strategy and sticking to it takes diligence and determination.

How to #Hashtag

How hashtags can help you reach the out-crowd and engage the in-crowd

The facts are in: if you are not using hashtags, you are missing out! With a tweet with hashtags being 33% more likely to get retweeted, these handy hashtags can make the difference between #GameOver and #Trending when it comes to social media success. Hashtags are more than just a fad, they are a means of organizing information and standing out from the crowd. Hashtags are also a way to engage with millennials where they shine brightest – through social media savvy. With millennials beginning to outnumber previous generations, speaking their language has become increasingly important. Do not miss out on this opportunity to #GetSocial!


Hashtag basics

The hashtag (#) turns any word, or group of words, into a link that can be searched. When writing a hashtag, leave your grammar at the door – no punctuation, no spaces! The best way to keep your message clear is to capitalize each word #LikeThis, otherwise known as using CamelCase. Got it? Let’s move on!

There are two ways businesses can use hashtags to their advantage.

  1. To reach the out-crowd by joining a conversation that is already in progress.
  2. To engage the in-crowd by starting a new conversation.

Reaching the out-crowd

As a business, using hashtags to reach potential new customers is a no-brainer. How do you do this effectively? By joining a conversation that is already in progress! Start thinking about what words people would search when looking for a business like yours. If you don’t know where to start, remember the old saying, “Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer”! Follow businesses who are doing similar work to you on all your favorite social media websites – especially those who have a great following. What hashtags are they using, and how many? Keep in mind that less is more both in scope (as hashtags that are more niche have a more engaged following) and in presentation (as too many hashtags looks inauthentic).

For example, this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #BurgerLover #Foodie #CheatMeal” is better than this, “Take a bite out of our best burger today! #WhatsForDinner #Foodie #EatClean #CommonTable #OnMyTable #TasteMade #ForkYea #OnTheTable #FoodStyling #BeautifulCuisines #HeresMyFood #TheArtOfSlowLiving #FreshFoods #CheatMeal #BurgerLover #Foodstagram #BurgerLife”.

So, K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Social-Media-User! Using hashtags by joining a pre-existing conversation takes your business and puts it in front of someone who would have never found you otherwise. That’s something you can feel #Blessed about!


Engaging the in-crowd

The second way that you can use hashtags to build your business is by starting a conversation with the followers that you already have by creating an original hashtag. Brands from Calvin Klein (#MyCalvins) to Charmin toilet paper (#TweetFromTheSeat) have managed to create original hashtags that engage their audience in a way that builds their social media momentum. Original hashtags can be used for promotions, contests, events, or general brand awareness. Just be sure that when you are creating an original hashtag that it is clear, simple, unique, and catchy. No one will want to join your conversation if it’s confusing or boring.

Imagine if Coca-Cola’s classic #ShareACoke hashtag was #TakeACocaColaAndGiveItToSomeoneElse – not very fun or memorable! Original hashtags give your followers something to talk about and a way to interact with your business on a personal level.


Not all social media sites are created equal

Using hashtags is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each platform will have its unspoken rules of how many hashtags are acceptable. Where Instagram shows posts with an average of nine hashtags performing the best, Facebook posts get the greatest engagement with only one hashtag. Each social media site is unique in its function and audience, so take the time to explore the sites you want to use for your business before posting.


Are you #Trending yet?

These tips and tricks for how to use hashtags as a business are about more than getting ahead in a technological age. Hashtags, above all, are about building community. By putting a simple pound sign in front of a word, you are taking that message and immediately sharing it with someone who cares about what you do and how you do it. This tool is a revolutionary way to make your words matter and allow them to connect with not only a new customer, but a new spokesperson for your business. From #MotivationalMonday to #FlashbackFriday, use your new hashtagging skills to make both the in-crowd and the out-crowd your new #BFFL.

Why is Social Media Important?

Since the early 2000s, social media platforms have revolutionized the way people connect with one another. Today, there are 2.3 billion active users of social media worldwide. Business owners who take advantage of the ocean-sized lead pool created by social media channels will undoubtedly reel in a boatload of benefits.

Currently, the number of brands present on two or more social media platforms has surpassed 90%, and in 2016, Facebook reported reaching 50 million small business users. Despite this level of online presence, business owners consistently report that social media is the second most difficult marketing tactic to execute effectively (immediately behind Search Engine Optimization, AKA SEO). Business owners believe that learning how to properly utilize social media platforms is time consuming, and that their time would be better spent on other marketing tactics.


Don’t take the bait—social media IS important!

Remember the boatload of benefits discussed earlier? We didn’t mean this:

Making the effort to rock your customers’ worlds through the effective use of social media will pay off for your business, here’s how!

Social media increases your brand’s visibility

Just as there are plenty of fish in the social media sea, there are also a TON of boats looking to land a big catch. Ensuring your business and brand are present and active on multiple social channels will create the opportunity for consumers from different demographics to find and follow you. Also, half of consumers follow brands to indicate their loyalty, so a business’s current customer base will also increase brand awareness and visibility. The more followers a business has, the more likely it is to be seen. Additionally, if a business owner treats these followers as a sentient community rather than a stagnant lead pool, it will help improve customer service and brand image.

Social media improves your customer service

A business’s presence on social media creates the opportunity for dialogue with consumers, and 60% of followers expect a brand to interact with their followers directly through social media. With more than half of marketers utilizing social media as two-way street for communication, it is important for business owners to give their audience what it wants. By providing engaging content, exclusive social offers and genuine responses to feedback like reviews or questions, you will be able to build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships with your social community. Did we mention that all of this comes with a minimal price tag?

Social media is easy on your budget

Old school marketing tactics like snail mail ads or flyers can be expensive, and it will undoubtedly take time to measure their ROI. Joining and posting to social media is free of charge—there’s no limit to how many posts you can publish, and your efforts are seen by followers immediately. Paid advertising on social media is also an option, and this tactic will allow you to target specific audiences you want to reach. The best part is that your budget for paid social advertising can be as large or as small as you see fit, it’s all designed to meet your business’s unique marketing needs. Investing in social media with time or money can help with more than just a business’s social accounts, too.

Social media can boost search engine ranking

Effective social media use will allow your business to harness the power of another internet beast.

You may recall from earlier that business owners find SEO to be the most daunting digital marketing tactic to take on. By fostering a social media following, providing content that will likely be shared, and interacting with its consumers online, businesses are able to climb the ranks in search engines. The better your ranking, the more likely you are to be found, and thus the social media cycle begins all over again!


Keep the fish biting

With so many benefits tied to using social media, you’re probably wondering how to move your business forward using such a powerful tool. Posting in social channels can be intimidating, and oftentimes you might be left wondering if you have anything worth posting at all.

Teach a marketer to fish…

It’s important to create social media content that provides value to your customers without hocking spam day in and day out. To succeed on social media you need to know your consumers and keep them entertained. Don’t have time to test the waters?

Facebook Advertising vs. Boosted Posts

On the surface boosting content on Facebook seems like a pretty straight forward transaction. The more dollars you spend, the more eyes see your message. While that’s certainly true, to get the most value out of your dollar it’s worth knowing the basic nuances of how boosting on Facebook works. Truth be told, Facebook’s Advertiser Help Center rarely provides the answers you’re after on Facebook paid advertising, and true to form, it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance on the differences between boosting posts vs. ads either.

So in this article we’ll cover the differences between the types of sponsored ads on Facebook — a Facebook boost and a Facebook news feed ad—and which we recommend as the best option for your business depending on your needs.


What are Facebook sponsored posts?

Facebook sponsored posts are promoted posts that receive additional paid reach. Simply put, your business has the option of boosting a post or creating an ad: boosting increases the chances your post will be seen by followers (increasing loyalty), while news feed ads target users based on select criteria, external from followers (potential new customers).

Wait, why sponsor ads on Facebook when you can post for free?

The reality is, organic posts don’t go very far in today’s Facebook world. Unless you have a huge network of fans (50K+), achieving favorable outcomes through organic content in a 1.6B user world is futile. Based on Facebook’s current algorithms, organic reach has plummeted over recent years to the point where 50 million businesses are posting 1.5 times per day, reaching an average of 2% of their audience. That is what we call “tough sledding”.

Should we be surprised though? As the world’s largest social network, it was simply clockwork until Facebook turned to a Pay-to-Play model resulting in paid advertising on the social network giant. But before you start shouting big corporate obscenities, it’s still our opinion that Facebook provides the best advertising platform on the web or anywhere else in the business world. It’s just takes a little practice.

Advertising on Facebook requires a solid strategy

Like anything, you will need a strategy when tackling Facebook paid advertising. Depending on what your goals are, our quick advice is to put money on posts that have measurable ROI, like lead capture, promotions, contests and content meant to capture new customers.

Another fundamental rule is to always promote your own content. Even if it’s great material and related to your business, never pay to send traffic to someone else’s website.

Now, with all that said, let’s figure out which Facebook paid advertising delivery method works best…Facebook boosts or Facebook ads.


What are Facebook boosted posts?

Facebook boosted posts are promoted posts that appear higher on news feeds, giving a post a higher chance that friends and followers will see it. While boosted posts can be targeted by location, interest, age and gender, more advanced targeting options is reserved for ads on Facebook. And that’s really the rub with sponsored posts for your business. While it’s easier to create them, you are limited in refining the post to get the most out of your “boost juice” dollars.

What are Facebook news feed ads?

Facebook news feed ads are sponsored ads that appear right on the news feed of readers. Newsfeed ads denoted “sponsored” directly underneath the company’s name on the post you users know that the content could be coming from a source they haven’t “liked” yet.

News feed ads are created in Facebook Ads Manager (or Power Editor). Creating a news feed ad on Facebook is more involved than boosting posts, but, as with most things, more work often leads to more reward.

With news feed ads, you can set a specific objective for your ad that directly aligns to your business goals. You can choose from 12 objectives from three different categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Notice how these three categories represent different areas of the sales and marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: for boosting posts, promoting a Facebook page, targeting people near the business’s location and increasing brand awareness
  • Consideration: to send people to a website, getting app installs, increase event attendance or get views on videos and collect business leads
  • Conversion: for increasing website conversions, engagement to an app, or to have an offer claimed

Facebook paid advertising showdown: who is the winner?

So you’ve probably come to the conclusion that Facebook news feed ads have a lot more power behind them and are geared toward ROI—especially seeing how there’s no price difference between the two formats.

Boosted posts do have a place—if your business is looking for a quick and convenient way to create awareness and drive profile traffic, then we say go for it, especially if you want to hit existing fans/customers. It takes all of five minutes to start raking in thousands of impressions for as little as $5.00.

If you are looking to achieve tangible marketing results, like capturing leads and driving revenue, my money is on news feed ads. If you want to really capture leads through Facebook paid advertising however, I suggest using Facebook lead ads.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

The advertising world is full of jargon, and new phrases are always popping up. One you may have heard in the past couple of years is “programmatic advertising.” So what is it, and why does it sound so technical? Take my hand and come with me to the world of advertising, where we’ll venture further in to discover the kingdom of programmatic advertising.

If you’re a complete newcomer to the advertising world, let me set the scene for you. The way ads make it from your business to a little 300×250 box on your screen is that a media buyer from an advertising agency bought that space at that time for that specific ad. The way the media buyer decides on that specific part of space-time to buy for the ad is much more complex, involving the consideration of price rates, target audience demographics, formats and more. If some of you thought “is there an easier way?,” you’re not alone. The advertising world wondered the same thing, and programmatic advertising was developed as the answer.


The programmatic advertising kingdom & RTB

Programmatic advertising is when software is used to purchase digital ad space instead of humans. Move aside human media buyers, robots are taking over! Swapping out humans for machines is a win-win for advertisers. Creating ads and choosing the right space takes a lot of manual labour. The complex considerations that went into each bid and purchase of ad space can now be done in milliseconds by efficient, calculating machines. The bidding of ad space can be automated, and by telling your programmatic software exactly what kind of audience you’re trying to reach, the ads can now be targeted more efficiently than ever. Welcome to the programmatic advertising kingdom.

RTB: real time bidding

Before we dive too deep, let’s take a quick detour into RTB forest, where ad spaces grow on trees for the robots to harvest. The phrase RTB (real time bidding) is often used interchangeably with programmatic advertising, but RTB is actually only one part of the process, and the skeleton on which programmatic ad buying is built. Ad space is bought and sold in a digital auction, where the winning bidder gets to display their ad in that space. This happens in real time (hence real time bidding), and it’s what programmatic advertising software uses to purchase ad space. To clarify, RTB is the auction, and programmatic advertising is the full automatization of the bid, purchase and ad displaying process. Okay, let’s get back on track to programmatic!

In the programmatic advertising kingdom, it’s the machines that do the work, and the advertisers who rule from campaign castle. It’s the human advertising professionals who are the kings and queens, ruling from campaign castle, and they set the laws of the land. The advertisers determine the rules and scope of the campaigns, while the programmatic software handles all the menial tasks. They will set the prices and strategies, carefully select the channels on which to promote, develop meaningful campaigns, and more. No technophobia necessary, humans are still deeply involved in the process.


Why programmatic advertising?

Here’s the rundown of why programmatic advertising is the best kingdom to be a part of in the world of advertising:

Efficiency

We all know humans, right? No matter how many great qualities they have, there’s always a degree of unreliability and room for fault. Robots don’t get sick, don’t need vacation time and can’t break the rules. While I’d much rather have a human coworker and friend than a robot, when it comes to buying and selling ad space, these things matters. Programmatic advertising removes slow-computing humans from the equation, making the ad buying process hundreds of times faster, and less likely to involve error. Plus, the programmatic advertising software can make tiny, instant adjustments to campaign variables that humans may not consider, or have the time to change.

Optimization

Robots are far better data analyzers than humans, and programmatic software can adjust dozens of variables within your campaign outlines to optimize the campaign and get your desired ROI. The human side of marketing can set budget, goals, network reach and more, and the programmatic software will run with it to get the best bang for your marketing buck. Say hello to delivering hyper-relevant, cross-channel experiences that increase brand awareness, reduce churn and convert users at break-neck speeds.

Cost

Why hire an expensive, potentially unreliable human to buy and sell ad space when you can get a machine to do it better, and for less? Adopting programmatic advertising will result in a tangible cut of media buying costs, as well as let you budget out your (less-tangible) brain power more efficiently. Not to mention, with a machine at the helm, your campaigns will achieve better ROI than would be possible with campaigns run by their human counterparts.

Campaign Quality

With the tedious tasks handled by programmatic software, your marketing team has the time and energy required to develop strategic tactics, and plan sophisticated, effective marketing campaigns. Each of these complex campaign plans will be carried out by the programmatic software that has the ability to rapidly change tiny variables to get you the best bang for your campaign buck. After each campaign run with programmatic advertising, you’ll also receive detailed, data-filled reports so you can better plan your next campaign.


Who needs programmatic advertising?

We all know that you don’t bring a human to a robot fight. In the digital ad buying world, it’s machines vs machine, and ad space is bought and sold faster than you can blink an eye. Programmatic ad buying can offer hyper-relevant, hyper-targeted display ads to the audience you want to reach. If you want to run display ads online, you’ll want to use programmatic ad buying. Besides, human interaction is so 20th century.


Programmatic advertising is big, and it’s not something that will disappear in the next few years. According to a study from eMarketer, US programmatic digital display ad spending will reach $22.10 billion in 2016. The kingdom is expanding, and overtaking new advertising territory every day. Digiday even called programmatic “the future of ad buying,” so maybe a world of robots and humans living in harmony is more plausible than Terminator had us believe.

Tips for Providing The Perfect Customer Experience

Amazing customer service may seem like a lot of extra work on a short-term basis, but it does improve your brand image and goodwill, which means a lot in the long run. No matter how big or small your business is, you must focus on making your customers happy. There are many ways to do this—with the strength of your product, with free incentives that you can offer or with amazing customer service experiences.

With all the competition out there, succeeding with your business nowadays is a matter of wills. Are you willing to provide the best possible value? Are you willing to offer your customers the perfect customer experience? If you are, then it’s time to get started at improving the customer service experience your company provides. Here are a few important tips to help your company provide your customers the perfect customer service experience.


1. Know your products and services inside and out

No matter the business or industry you’re in, knowing your offerings (products or services) inside and out is absolutely necessary. Customer service is, after all, all about helping your customers succeed with your products or services. Therefore, your customer service should focus on offering the proper suggestions, tips and solutions to ensure that success. Each and every employee (not just customer service) should know the ins and outs of what you’re selling. Helping your employees succeed by providing the proper training (regardless of their job description) is the first step in helping your customers succeed.

2. Be more accessible

If you want your customer service department to strive for success, here’s what you should know—customer service must be readily accessible to all of your customers. One easy way of accomplishing this is setting up more communication channels in which customer can connect with a customer service member when they have a question or issue. The minimum that you can do is to provide a phone number, an e-mail address and a mailing address. If your business can afford it, and really need it, develop an online support desk that can be instantly reached 24/7. This communication channel is usually required when the company reaches a big number of requests and website visitors.

3. Speed up your response times

Customers love quick answers. According to a recent report performed by Frost, 41% of customers suggest that their biggest frustration regarding customer service is when they’re put on hold. They want to be respected, and your company must give your best to solve everyone’s issues quickly.

4. Focus on the customer, not on the sale

Customer service is all about the customer’s feelings and experience. You must focus on their well-being and you must avoid thinking about combining customer service with sales or other aspects of your business. If you want to leverage your customer service system in order to make more sales, I’m sorry to disappoint you: it’s not that effective! The selling side of your business is totally different and you should focus on it separately. Continually work at ways that you can improve the customer experience to keep your customers satisfied and coming back for more.

5. Clear communication

Keep communication simple and ask straightforward questions when communicating with your customers. The truth is that we all communicate differently, so be prepared for communicating with your customers in different ways to ensure that they will understand whatever information you are trying to relay to them. If corresponding by email or online, grammar and spelling must be perfect or your credibility as a professional company will slowly vanish.

6. Over-deliver whenever possible

Over-delivering can help create loyal customers. On average, loyal customers can be worth 10x more than their first purchase. If someone gets treated right, they’ll often come back. They’ll perceive your company as a trustworthy authority or provider; therefore, over delivering from time to time helps your company’s reputation to grow positively. Find a way to reward your customers with a customer service issue for being patient. It could be anything. Nothing costly or hard to obtain. Ideally, this small attention should also deliver some value.

7. Find and fix your mistakes

Mistakes are a part of any business, after all we are all human. Nevertheless, do your best to make things right with your customers. When we’re talking about mistakes, we’re talking about a customer that hasn’t been treated right. Your business can make it right by offering them solutions, returns or future guarantees. Pay attention: if you’re not fixing your mistakes in time, your company’s reputation will suffer. People will start talking, reviewing, and sooner than later you’ll realize that your sales are dropping.

8. Test, fail, test again and ultimately optimize

Before reaching success in a customer service program, every business goes through a trial-and-error process. The marketplace and the customers within any industry tend to become more complicated as an industry ages or becomes more fragmented. If you try out a new product, service, or customer service initiative, don’t be afraid to fail. Know that “failure” isn’t failure, it is merely feedback—it lets you know what not to do so you can start focusing on things that might work. After you find something that works, begin the scaling process. Optimize everything until you find the balance that you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Businesses are always looking for new ways to make a name for themselves and an excellent customer service experience is one of those ways in which a business can afford to get a great reputation in. Competition is almost always growing in any industry and new strategies and actions must be implemented to keep up with the constant flux. Providing the perfect customer experience is just one way for your business to stand out from the crowd, win customers over and keep them coming back. It’s never too early or to late to create a customer service program that turns your customers into repeat customers, or ambassadors of your brand.

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