Social Media Marketing for Small Business: 9 Social Media Marketing Tips All Business Owners Should Know

If you’re a business owner in the year 2019, someone has told you the importance of social media marketing.

You know it’s important, but you need to know if it’s important enough for your business to spend time, money, and effort on. After all, it doesn’t have clear ROI metrics like paid marketing. 

The short answer? Yes, social media marketing is important and you should focus on it.

But telling you it’s important isn’t enough.

You need insights, advice, and strategy.

In today’s guide, we’ll cover 9 social media marketing tips to help you grow your business and we’ll talk about the time, money, and effort you should put into them.

Run a Contest or Giveaway

A contest or a giveaway is a great way to catch peoples attention on social media.

You can also use them to generate leads for your business.

In the short term, giving away your product or services for free will cost time and money, but you can reap rewards in the future if you do it right.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Choose the product or service you want to give away
  • Create a Facebook ad campaign targeting people in your audience
  • Allow people to enter the contest by giving you their email address
  • Run the campaign for a set period of time (1-2 weeks)
  • Announce the winner through your email list first with the subject line “Contest winner announced”
  • Announce the winner through social media
  • Create a special offer/deal/discount and promote it to all the people who didn’t win

This simple social media marketing tip works well for businesses in all different niches.

Harness the Power of Video

Video is a great medium to use because people can watch them passively.

You don’t have to focus to watch a video like you do when you read.

You can use video to build your brand by sharing informative, entertaining, and useful information your target audience wants to watch.

Or you can use video as a creative twist for advertisements.

We’ve discussed how businesses have used video to spark viral campaigns that helped them grow their business.

While you may not go viral with your videos, they will be a sharable asset you can use to spread awareness about your brand and business.

Be creative.

If you’re a carpet cleaning company, show a before and after video of your cleaning.

Real estate agent? Provide cool virtual tours of your awesome homes and share them online.

Even if you’re in an industry that’s you considered unexciting, you can create videos that educate your target audience.

Not sure what videos to create? That’s where working with an expert comes in.

 

Give Your Brand a Personality

All too often, businesses try to use social media as a loudspeaker to blast ads out to the masses. Or, they use it to build awareness about their brand, but they do it in a stiff and corporate way.

It’s okay to use humor, inject personality, and have a little fun when it comes to marketing your business on social media.

Go back to our example above with Dollar Shave Club. They use humor to sell their product. They are even a little brash and inappropriate.

Contrast this with most other businesses who are afraid to go outside the box from time to time.

It’s refreshing to see a company who doesn’t take themselves seriously 100 percent of the time.

Participate on Your Platforms

If someone writes a review for your business on Yelp or Facebook, you should reply.

If someone leaves a comment on one of your posts, you should reply.

Any time someone engages with your brand on social media in any way, you should engage back.

Scour the landscape of business social media profiles and you will mostly see infrequent posting and little to no interaction with potential customers on their platforms.

These are people who took time out of their day to try and connect with you. Imagine you are a potential customer who leaves a comment on the businesses’s facebook page.

You get a reply back almost right away.

You feel like the business actually cares about your opinion, wants, and needs.

Aren’t you more likely to buy from that brand?

Of course.

Most of the social media game is a matter of activity, but there’s another even more important factor.

Be Consistent and Master Your Platforms

It’s better to do really well on one platform than it is to be inconsistent on multiple platforms.

Find one platform, use it frequently, master it, then move on to another one if that makes sense.

Different platforms work better for different industries. Choose the one that suits you best.

If you are a business with a visual product like custom homes or makeup, Instagram may be your best bet.

Youtube also would work well for the aforementioned businesses.

Keep it simple and start with social media’s gold standard platform – Facebook.

Whichever platform you choose, you can win the social media marketing game by simply being more consistent than the competition in your niche.

Schedule Your Posts Ahead of Time

This speaks to the point above about being consistent.

Instead of constantly spending time posting on social media each day, you can carve out time to work on a week to a month’s worth of posts and monitor the replies as they come.

If you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can work with a social media manager or digital marketing company to do it for you.

Having a well oiled social media marketing machine working for you helps you spend more time working on your business instead of working in it.

Take Advantage of Social Media Advertisement Platforms

Social media marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk says now is the best time to invest in paid social media marketing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Members of MLT Group attended an event he spoke at his he reiterated this statement.

In the talk, he likened the current advertising platforms to the early days of Google Adwords.

If you use the right strategy, the clicks on your ads can range from affordable to even cheap.

The caveat is that you need to use the right strategy.

Here are some great beginners guides on starting your on paid social media marketing campaign:

Running a great campaign takes patience and effort.

Which is another great reason why working with a smart company can help.

Use Remarketing to Connect With ‘Warm’ Prospects

It’s easier to sell and persuade someone who’s already familiar with your brand.

Remarketing is a great way to market to ‘warm’ prospects who are more likely to buy your product or service.

After you’ve spent time building awareness about your brand through social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, etc, you can use remarketing ads to share an offer with people who’ve already visited your website or interacted with your brand in some way.

If you have a product for sale, you can create a special discount offer.

If you have a service, you can offer a free trial or consult as a way to build trust and show them how your services can benefit.

You can also send an offer without a discount or free trial of any kind.

Play the Long Game on Social Media

When it comes to social media marketing tips, the best tip is to use the platforms consistently for a long period of time

This isn’t the sexy answer, but most of the effective strategies in business and life are simple.

Digital marketing isn’t going anywhere.

Neither is social media.

If you can think in terms of years and decades instead of weeks and months, you will succeed.

If not, you won’t.

 

How Much Are You Charged for a Click on Your Adwords Ad?

How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords ad?

It seems like a simple question, right?

You have probably heard of the phrase “pay-per-click” (PPC advertising) and it makes sense for the most part, especially as a compliment to SEO services.

Your advertisement shows up on Google and you pay each time someone clicks on it.

Google Adwords

But how does Google determine how much you spend each time someone clicks on your ad?

In today’s post, we’ll provide a simple explanation for how Google AdWords works.

By the end of this post, you’ll know how you’ll be charged for ads, the different factors that affect your budget, and insights you’ll need to create your own successful Google AdWords campaign.

Factors That Affect How Much You’re Charged for a Click on Your AdWords Ad

Before we dive into specifics on using the Google AdWords platform, let’s talk about some of the different factors Google uses – either directly or indirectly – to determine how much you’re charged when someone clicks on your ad.

In essence, Google AdWords is a “pay to play” platform. If you outspend your competition, your results will appear first. In some cases, it makes sense to spend premium amounts for a click:

  • If your product has a high price or has a high customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • You are confident you can convert visitors to leads and sales when the land on your website
  • You know you can make a return on investment (ROI) on the amount you spend

In other cases, you’ll have to balance different factors to determine how much you are willing to spend on an ad.

Here are some important factors to note.

Competition

You’ll likely spend less per click to advertise handmade socks than you would if you created parts for airplanes and rockets.

The more competitive the service or product you want your website to appear for, the more it will cost.

What factors determine competition? Here are a few:

  • Commercial intent – Products or services people are searching for because they are ready to buy have “commercial intent.” These keywords (the phrase typed on Google related to the product or service) receive lots of attention from advertisers. Example:  Red Men’s Nike Shoes Size 12
  • The number of advertisers – This relates to the first point, but the more advertisers who want to promote a similar product or service, the higher the cost per click (CPC) because the advertisers will try to outbid each other and drive up the price
  • The bids themselves – Google uses an auction system to display ads. The behavior of the group of advertisers who bid on keywords changes depending on the word, the industry, and other factors like personality

Average Cost Per Click Adwords by Industry

Wordstream created an excellent graphic that shows the average cost per click for ads in different types of industries:

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-cpc

You can infer why some industries have a different average cost per click than others.

Lawyers and consumer services are at the top. Both make sense in their own way. Lawyers can spend more because the price of their service is high. While the consumer services industry has lower priced products and services, the commercial intent is higher.

Before you create an AdWords campaign, do your research on industry benchmarks.

Better yet, you can work with us to create aPPC strategyy from scratch:




 

Your Strategy

To further answer the question, “how much are you charged for a click on your google ads ad?” it’s important to talk about strategy. Your PPC strategy is one of the major factors for how much you’ll spend per click.

In Google AdWords, you can both set track different metrics like:

  • Max CPC – You can set a cost-per-click amount you aren’t willing to exceed
  • Total Budget – You can set an amount for the total amount you want to spend per day, per month, or for a longer period of time
  • Impressions – This is the number of people who see your ad
  • Click Through Rate -This is the percentage of people who see your ad and then also visit your site

When you put together an AdWords campaign, you have to keep the metrics in mind while creating your strategy and altering it.

We will walk through the details in a bit, but here are some potential scenarios to consider:

  • If your impressions and click through rate are low, you aren’t spending enough relative to your competitors
  • If your impressions are high but your click-through rate is low, your ad might not be persuasive enough
  • An ad with a high click-through rate, but a modest CPC and number of impressions could mean you can spend more because you have a winning ad that will convert when you increase your bid
  • If your ad has a high click-through rate, but people don’t engage with your website once they visit it, you may need some design or content upgrades to make your service or product more attractive

When it comes to answering the question  – How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords Ad? There are a lot of factors to consider.

Your best bet, learn the basics and start a PPC campaign. Experience teaches you more than any blog post will.

Let’s talk about the basics. Then, let’s talk options. We can help you set up a custom PPC plan based on your businesses needs that will help you attract people who want your product or service.

The Basics Behind Creating a Successful Google AdWords Campaign

Keyword Research

When you create ads for Google, you need to research keywords.

What are keywords? Keywords are words or phrases people type into Google when they’re searching for stuff.

Google keeps track of important data about keywords:

  • Monthly Volume – This number tells you how many people search for a keyword every month
  • Competition – Google bases this number off of how aggressive the bidders are
  • Average CPC – This number shows the average amount of money you would need to spend to get a click

Google provides a tool called the Google Keyword Planner where you can see this data and make decisions about which keywords to use for your campaign:

Google Keyword Planner

You can use this tool along with good old-fashioned brainstorming to come up with potential keywords to use in your campaigns.

Creating Your PPC Ads

After doing your research, you’ll have a group of keywords you want to target during your campaign.

If your business has multiple services or products, you will want to separate the keywords you targeted into groups based on the different types of products or services you have.

These are called ad groups:

Google Ad Groups

 

 

Each ad group will have its own individual set of keywords:

google PPC ad keywords

When you visit the campaign settings, you can set a daily budget and a bidding strategy:

The dashboard provides useful tips to help with your campaign. You can choose between manual options where you can set your own bid prices. You can also use Google’s ‘smart bidding options’ which allow you to choose your budget and leave it to Google to make the best use of your money.

For each Ad group, you can create different advertisements to display on the search engine. Make sure to use appealing media in your ads like pictures and logos. If you need a new logo, you can hire a logo maker at an affordable price.

Google uses a quality score measure to determine how likely your ads are to get click-throughs. It also uses your quality score to determine your placement. An ad with a high-quality score and a lower bid could show up higher than an Ad with a low-quality score, but a higher bid.

Neil Patel has a great guide on ways to improve your quality score if you’re looking for an in-depth analysis

If you decide to work with a smart digital marketing agency like MLT Group, we will walk you through the process from start to finish using cutting-edge research and optimization techniques.

Conclusion

The concept of PPC advertising is simple. If you make more money than it costs to advertise, advertising makes sense.

As a business owner, you just want to get great results. Instead of learning all the industry jargon and creating a campaign for yourself, why not work with an agency who will partner with you.

Here’s your next step. Fill out this form below, we’ll give you a free audit of your website and marketing, then we’ll reach out to talk about a great campaign that works for your business. 




 

Web Design Best Practices for 2019 and Beyond

“Web design best practices” isn’t just a buzz phrase.

In any profession or skill, understanding the best core methods can help you create the best results.

When it comes to creating custom websites, the final product is always different, but each site should have some traits in common.

These traits are important for user experience. They’re important for getting your website to appear on search engines. They’re even important for paid ads.

Together, they’re important for the growth and health of your business as a whole.

Some of these web design best practices are technical. Some are guiding philosophies to keep in mind. All of them will help your business have a website both you and your visitors love.

The #1 Web Design Best Practice

Each time we meet with a new client, we always ask this question:

“What purpose do you want your website to serve?”

Or this variation:

“Why do you need a new website?”

Sucess in business or life, in general, comes from understanding why you’re doing something in the first place. When you don’t answer the question beforehand, you don’t get the best results.

You’ve been to a website like this before. When you visit the site, it doesn’t make an impression on you. You’re not sure what to do next. The company’s mission isn’t clear.

It’s just a website. 

If you have a website already, think about the impression it has on your current visitors. Is your purpose clear? Do you have a unique selling proposition to share? Do they know what steps you want them to take?

When you work with a full-service marketing agency like MLT Group, we can help you answer those questions.

The answers can be simple things like:

  • Finding qualified employees
  • Getting more traffic and leads
  • Informing the customer about your product that requires research before purchasing
  • Demonstrating your expertise in the industry
  • Building your brand

The process doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to occur.

While you’re thinking about the ‘why’ behind a website for your business, let’s dive into some specific best practices.

Responsive Design

Per Statistica, 52.4 percent of all search traffic comes from mobile phones.

Google announced that it will shift to “mobile first-indexing.” This means that Google will first look at the mobile version of your website when it decides how high it wants to rank your website.

If your mobile website has a bad user experience, or, even worse, you don’t have a mobile website, you will lose out on website traffic, leads, and ultimately sales.

Also, not having a mobile-friendly website is just bad for business in 2019.

Without knowing you, I know you have a smartphone. Knowing how much you interact with the web through your phone should tell you everything you need to know.

This is where responsive design comes in. Responsive design goes a step above and beyond creating a mobile-friendly website.

With responsive design, we build websites that accommodate any screen size from phone to tablet to desktop.

Here’s the short version of how we do it:

  • Create unique designs for different screen sizes
  • Build different versions of the web site depending on size
  • Test all versions until the site displays seamlessly on any screen

Reponsive design is even better than building a mobile-friendly website because it’s more cohesive and uniform.

If your current website isn’t at least mobile friendly, we need to talk:




 

Create An Awesome User Experience

On each page of your website, you must consider the action you want your user to take and then create a design to accomplish that goal.

This is known as user experience design. 

UX design, per the Interactive Design Foundation:  “is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.”

You can dive deep into the topic of UX and discuss different aspects, but the key is to figure out how to create a great user experience on every page of the website.

The elements on each page can vary, but include things like:

  • Header space
  • Content
  • Images
  • Buttons
  • Animation
  • Color
  • Taglines

When we work with clients, we discuss these elements in-depth, but they’re all results of the user experience you want to provide.

If you do the process backward and piece elements together without understanding what you want to achieve, you often achieve nothing.

The Homepage

Your homepage is the most critical page of your website because it’s the first thing people see.

Internet visitors are picky and will leave your site quickly if your design doesn’t entice them to view more. This is bad for multiple reasons. One, you don’t want visitors to leave your site right away because, duh. Second, if people visit your site and leave right away, it can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Each time a visitor comes to your site and leaves right away, you get a “bounce” which is something Google doesn’t like to see.

So how do you come up with an attractive design that makes people want to click through?

Here are some of our homepage design best practices.

Put Your Best Stuff Above the Fold

When someone comes to your homepage, they won’t necessarily see or scroll through all of it. Depending on their desktop screen size, they’ll see what’s “above the fold.”

Here’s an example:

website homepage example

For your website design, make sure you utilize the important areas of your homepage that appears above the fold.

Header and Banner Space

Your header and banner space is usually a wide horizontal space that goes across your entire screen. There are many different ways to design this space and add content, but you want to make sure to add your most important information in this area.

These elements can include:

  • Deals and discounts
  • Unique selling propositions
  • Call to actions
  • Tag-lines
  • Images
  • Video

Here’s an example of an e-commerce store that features a discount deal in their banner space:

homepage banner space

Here’s another example of a company who shows their unique selling proposition with a call to action (CTA) to go to an important page on their website.

unique selling proposition

Some industries, like real estate and custom home building, utilize images to show off the quality of their work.

real estate homepage banner

When you work with a design and digital marketing agency, you’ll go through a question and answer process to figure out the most important aspects of your business. Then, those aspects will be incorporated into the design and content.

Graphics and Buttons

Visual cues help people understand what to do next.

 

Graphics and buttons take the guesswork out of decision-making for your visitors and make your website look more professional and fun.

“Break out boxes” are a classic example of great use of graphics. Break out boxes are graphics that feature and link to important pages on your website.

Here’s a good example of them:

break out boxes

Always think of ways the content on your site could be represented with graphics and images instead of text alone.

Interior Page Designs

Your interior pages are all the other pages on your site besides the homepage.

The most common interior pages with unique designs are:

  • services pages
  • product pages
  • product category pages
  • content pages
  • unique individual pages

With each page, you should set an intention for the desired result you want to achieve.

There’s a theme here – always put your visitor in mind before you design a website page.

We work with our clients to create a strategy for each page on the website. We start with questions like:

  • What do you want visitors to do while on this page?
  • How do you want visitors to feel while on this page?
  • What impression do you want to provide when visitors land on this page?

Let’s take a look at some of our clients’ websites and break down the strategy behind their page designs.

Services Page Design

Elcor Construction provides paving and excavating services.

On their services page, they wanted visitors to see their work in action. On the page, we used break-out boxes to highlight their primary services and make them easy to find:

services page design

The design on this page helps reflect professionalism, the quality of their work, and the idea they want the visitors to get the information they need quickly.

Product Page Design

Northland Fastening Systems provides stud welding equipment.

Each of their products — studs — has a wide variety of variables for each part. On the product page, we added a menu for the visitor to select the material, thread size, and length of their stud. Then, the product page automatically generates a part number to order the exact product:

e commerce product page design

Visitors can find the exact part they need. Other stud welding providers may ask to look through an entire table of numbers to find their part. This design strategy saves time and gives the user the impression they are working with a large company who can handle all their needs.

The sidebar menu also helps visitors find related products they might also need.

Product Category Page Design

Poppi Italian Leather sells custom handbags imported directly from Italy. Each handbag type is carefully selected and grouped into categories:

e commerce category page

Each product photo uses high resolution, color balanced, and enhanced photos to make sure the custom quality comes across on the page.

Custom Individual Pages

Some pages are one-of-a-kind unique.

That’s exactly the type of design we created for 12 For Health — a health and wellness company.

They have a program called the 12 Habits of Health. For the 12 Habits page, we created a custom rotating gallery to feature snippets describing each habit:

custom page design

The design also includes important statistics that show the importance of adopting healthy habits.

The color palette evokes positive emotions associated with a healthy life. The interactive style speaks to a sense of activity, which is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you use a specific focus and intent on each page you create for your website, you’ll guide the user experience to help the visitor find what they need and achieve your desired outcome at the same time.

Aside from specifics for the homepage and interior pages of your website, there are some general web design best practices you should always follow.

Consider SEO and Content Marketing As a Web Design Best Practice

The way you design your website has an impact on how well it will rank in search engines for a number of reasons. That’s why it’s important to have a digital marketing plan in place to decide how the content will work within the frame of the website. There are also specific design techniques you can use or avoid to help your site’s SEO performance. When you work with a smart digital marketing agency, they’ll take a large number of factors into consideration. Here are some important elements to consider.

Content-Length

Often, the longer the content on your website, the better. The search engines want pages with as much information as possible. This has to be balanced with the design of your website. You don’t want readers to feel overwhelmed by your content. Fortunately, there are techniques you can use to weave the content into the design in a way both search engines and users will enjoy.

Use Subheadings

Subheadings (H1-H5) help break up the copy and give your reader a mental break between paragraphs.

Add Images

You can add images between content areas and even wrap them around the text of your website to enhance the way your content looks on the page.

Here’s a great example:

website design images

Create Panels for Different Topics

Let’s say you have a service page that has multiple sub-services underneath it. You can make each section of the service look unique by creating a panel for it.

Here’s an example below:

Take a look at this page. It has 500+ words of content, but it doesn’t feel like 500 words. From the user’s perspective, they’re seeing great information carefully woven into the design:

website design and content

Build Your Website to Convert Visitors into Leads and Customers

Getting traffic to your website won’t make a difference unless you convert that traffic into a lead or a sale.

Your website design should have multiple areas with calls to action (CTAs).

CTAs come in many forms.

Contact/Request a Quote Forms

In addition to displaying your phone number on your website, you want users to be able to contact you by email.

You can create forms and place them in high-traffic areas of your website. This will give them the chance to reach out to you if they have questions or want more information.

contact form

Email Newsletter Sign Ups

Email marketing is still one of the top channels for communicating with customers and potential customers.

To get visitors to sign up, however, you have to go above and beyond adding a form to your sidebar that says “Sign up for our newsletter.”

They need a reason to sign up and they don’t want to feel like they’ll be receiving a newsletter — they want value. 

How do you both provide and communicate that value?

Here are some tried and true techniques.

Offer Something Valuable for Free

You can offer visitors a valuable resource and ask them for the email address.

Examples can include:

  • Access to deals and discounts
  • Whitepapers
  • A free email course
  • Videos
  • Quiz with answers

Check out this example of a giveaway in exchange for an email:

email opt in

Notice the following:

  • The headline and description for the give away are focused on the visitor
  • The signup form is prominent – not tucked away in the sidebar
  • Use of compelling copywriting to persuade the visitor

Give Them a Sneak Peek of What’s Inside

Notice the phrasing for this email signup form:

email sign up preview

This copy answers the question “what’s in it for me?” up front

Strategically Place Your Sign Up Form

You want your email sign up form to appear where visitors are most likely to engage with it.

To some, this comes in the form of a pop up:

pop up

Although many people don’t like them, numbers show they work.

If you want to be less aggressive, you can create an “exit intent” pop up that only appears if the user is about to leave the website.

Often, you want to embed your signup form in an area that’s clear, visible, and obvious, like the banner space area of a page.

Phone Number

Many people still want to call your phone number directly.

You can use the header space of your website to display your phone number and add it in other relevant spots like your footer, contact-us page, and even at the end of your blog posts.

Conclusion

This is just a short list of the web design best practices you can use to create a website both users and search engines love.

A clear digital marketing plan from start to finish makes a world of difference when it comes to the success of your website.

Why not work with an expert team to help you?