Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

Lawyer SEO marketing:  How it works and how to make it work for you

Lawyer SEO marketing:  How it works and how to make it work for you

Lawyer SEO marketing:  What you need to know

First let’s start with what SEO is. 

At it’s most basically level, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of formatting your business information online in a way that appeals to search engines.  By following best practices as laid out by search engines and working with their algorithms, your law firm or practice appears first in the organic results when someone types “divorce lawyer” or “accident attorney” into Google, Bing, or Yahoo(do people still use Yahoo?).  Organic results are anything results that weren’t bought or paid for and aren’t directly related to an ad or ad campaign.  Many consumers consider these more valuable and will bypass ad listings as they feel that organic results are more authentic.  For more information we have a get the idea video that gives an overview of the topic here:  or a more in-depth blog post here:

So why is SEO marketing important as a law firm? 

Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

SEO is what is referred to as search or intent marketing. That means that people only see your brand when they are intentionally searching for a company like yours.  if someone is seeking out a service like the one you offer, there is a high intent to purchase, so it is one of the best time to get in front of a prospect.  In other words if you utilize proper lawyer SEO marketing, a person who just got into an accident will see your practice first when they type “accident lawyer near me” into their cell phone while waiting for the police, or while waiting for a loved one to get treatment from the accident they just had, etc.  Being first isn’t the only thing that matters, but showing up in the first few results in Google or any other search engine will get you most of the clicks.  If you get the click, and your website is good you will get the call or the email, or at the very least be able to follow up with that prospect in a meaningful way.

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Is SEO marketing worth the investment? 

If you aren’t already convinced at the power of showing up first when someone is searching for your service, you can look at what your competitors are willing to pay to show up first with ads.  Major terms related to being an accident lawyer will set you back between $150-$250 per click…with 22,200 searches a month on average for “car accident lawyer” alone, you do the math on what showing up as the number one result organically is worth to your firm.  Here’s a hint:  it’s a lot.

Lawyer SEO Marketing:  Do it yourself or hire someone? 

There are parts of SEO you should 100 percent hire out.  We do SEO work for many of our clients and there are parts that we hire out because they just aren’t worth it.  This includes things like setting up directory listings(go try to get setup on yellow pages online and then tell me you want to do that 200 more times), on page SEO(setting up your website backend exactly the way the search engines want it), creating sitemaps, setting up your GMB(Google business listing), and internal and external link-building in general.  If you own a law firm, or any business for that matter, there is no way doing those tasks is a productive or profitable use of your time unless you are already an SEO expert.

Things you might consider doing yourself, but probably still shouldn’t, are items like creating content, doing keyword research, issuing online press releases, doing guest posting, etc. etc.  Even if you are amazing on camera, you probably still want to pay someone to transcribe your videos so they can be turned into blog posts, edit them, upload them onto youtube with the right keyword rich descriptions, etc. for example.  And it is probably a good idea for you to be involved in the keyword strategy process, but it’s unlikely that doing actual keyword research is a good use of your time.  Use your time for closing the clients your marketing efforts bring in, not on becoming a marketing expert, unless you just don’t like making money.

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The other major benefit of SEO marketing as a law firm is that once the foundation is set up, you can stay relatively uninvolved and simply reap the benefits.  Social media marketing, Facebook Ads, Youtube marketing, etc. are all great tools, but they require content and participation on your part to be effective.  This is particularly true in the legal sector where you have to be particularly conscious of your marketing messages and strategies.  SEO marketing is about consistency and continuing to build a stronger program on top of the foundation you have created.  It’s not as much about creativity, copywriting, and offers that require your ongoing attention.

How to get started with your law firm SEO marketing: 

As I mentioned before, this is really a place where you want to hire a professional, if you want a free consultation, contact us here, but I know there are always a few DIYer’s reading these posts so I’ll give you a solid overview of where to start even though I don’t recommend it.

Contact us for a consultation

Set up your GMB Listing: 

The first place to start is your Google My Business listing. With a really well created GMB page it’s possible to rank organically even without a website, not likely, but possible.  Make sure you add as much information to your GMB listing as possible, give them what they ask for when it comes to images, descriptions, and business information.  One word of caution, make sure your business information is consistent across the internet.  Don’t use different phone extensions on your website than you do on Yelp or on your GMB page, same goes for the address you use.  if you are unsure which categories to select, look at your top competitors(the ones showing up at the top of search results for your industry, not the ones that keep beating you at softball) and copy their categories.  Make sure to use the category keywords in your description for some added power and congruency.  Search engines love congruency.

Structuring Your Website: 

The biggest things on legal websites that will hurt you in search engine results are slow website speed(despite what you want to believe, those fancy videos aren’t worth showing up on page 12 of Google I promise), lack of keyword related content, bad meta-data and/or schema, poor URL structure(hint: name your services pages after the keywords people are typing into Google), and a bad linking strategy(think not enough links to your website, or too many links from bad websites)  There are twenty other things to consider in your law firm website SEO but those are the biggies that will keep you out of the top search results.

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Get links to your website: 

This includes directories like yellow pages and yelp, social media pages, industry related directories and publications, guest blog posts, and even Youtube videos.  Next to congruency, search engines favorite thing is relevance.  Having your business listed consistently all over the internet with links back to your website makes you look relevant, at least to an algorithm.

That’s enough to keep you busy for a while if you are crazy enough to try and tackle all of your lawyer SEO marketing yourself. We will still talk to you about it, for free, if you want to talk to a professional first though(seriously, do it, it’s free).  Just click here to schedule a consultation.

So what SEO services do we offer?

Our done-for-you SEO services improve your search engine ranking, your online visibility, and the number of leads coming into your business.  We utilize only white-hat(officially acceptable) strategies that build long-term success for your business.  Our SEO processes are outlined below, and contact us any time to clarify terms or questions you might have.

SEO Services Outline

Each month we work on your campaign tasks according to our published SEO and Online Visibility strategy for the campaign. Our service is comprehensive and moves from technical SEO to on-page SEO to off-page SEO.

As tasks are started and completed you can follow along with the progress with real-time access to the project workbook. We monitor your keywords closely and provide a view key that you can access to see your rankings at a glance. Every asset or deliverable that we create comes with a complete report and 100% access.

[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section title=”Month 1″ tab_id=”month-1″][vc_column_text]

Month 1 SEO Process Overview

Set Up Keyword Tracking and Campaign Reporting

We track up to 5 main keywords and 25 Longtail and Buyer Intent Variations every month. You’ll get a private view key so you can log in anytime and see the site rankings.

We track the overall progress of our monthly campaign through Google Sheets. We use a dedicated Drive folder to store all of the monthly deliverables and reports and creatives. You will have shared access to all campaign files and reports. And as each month comes to an end we will send you a monthly summary of your campaign at a glance.

Site Health Check and Technical Audit

We check for 404 errors, proper robots.txt, and XML sitemaps. We look at any 301, 302, and canonicalization issues. And finally, we do a broken link check.

Anchor Text and Semantic Audits

In order to create the best link building strategy, we first need to analyze the existing anchor text of the website. We compare the existing anchor text against the top competitor’s anchor text.

Next, we run a Competitor Analysis on your target pages and prepare an action plan on those pages.

Competitor Analysis

We look at the top ranking competitor for the keyword to get an insight into what Google Search is preferring to rank for that search term. We look at links, anchor text, semantic phrases, brand mentions and profiles, social media activity, and any paid promotion activities. Once we have a holistic view of what the number 1 competitor is doing we are equipped to begin our own optimization efforts.

Site-Level Optimization

This is the technical SEO and best practice site settings. Briefly, these tasks include Robots.txt File Update, Connect Google Search Console, Google Site Verification, install SEOPress Pro, No Index Author Archives, Sub Archives, and Tags, Submit Updated XML Site Map, and use Data Highlighter.

Page-Level Optimization

We perform advanced on-page optimization beginning in month 2 based on the action plans developed during month 1. Tasks include Optimizing Title Tags, Metas, H1 and H2 Tags, Image Alt Text, Inner Linking Structure and Anchor Text, Outbound Link Structure and Anchor Text, Create and Validate Organizational Schema Script and Implement our TF-IDF Action Plan on one main targeted page.

Social Essential Optimization

We optimize the brand’s top 15 social and brand profiles and create any that are missing. Optimization includes ensuring correct business details, adding a website link, keyword optimized descriptions and tags, uploading logos, photos, and videos, and interlinking existing accounts.

Write and Syndicate a Premium Press Release

This is a quality news release distributed to over 450 news and media outlets like Google News, CBS, Fox, ABC, CW, NBC affiliated broadcasting websites and more, including Associated Press journalists and thru AP Datafeatures services your press releases are distributed to major media outlets including Wall Street Journal, NEW YORK TIMES. WASHINGTON POST, USA TODAY, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and CHICAGO SUN TIMES. Creates authority brand links and mentions and is a great way to launch any campaign.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
for mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Month 2″ tab_id=”month-2″][vc_column_text]

Month 2 SEO Process Overview

Social Fortress Optimization

In month 2 we continue creating and optimizing the brand’s social profiles including 25+ more must have accounts for your digital brand. Optimization methods are completed just like in month 1.

Social Power-Ups

We create 4 hub profiles for the brand and use those to interlink the created social accounts together. This results in a powerful branded network that we promote using tier 2 link building methods.

Essential Business Citations

Top 42 Business Directories that every business should be listed in, includes all of the top national sites, including Yelp, 2 Find Local, Angie’s List, City Insider, and Chamber of Commerce. These listings are equally important for national and eCom sites as they are for local.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Month 3″ tab_id=”month-3″][vc_column_text]

Month 3 SEO Process Overview

Optimized Blog Post

We start month 3 with another high-quality 500-word blog post, thoroughly optimized to target longtail and buyer intent keywords. We submit the post for approval by you before posting. The blog post features correct on-page elements, interlinked using our internal anchor text strategy, and is also shared to the brand’s Facebook (If granted access), Twitter and Google+ profiles.

Deep Linkbuilding

We use the optimized blog post as the target for additional link building, to help funnel link equity to our targeted pages. This promoted blog post strategy helps to capture even more keywords and traffic because the posts will often rank for longtail keywords while serving as a gateway for our link equity.

Branded Link Building

We continue building brand links to help diversify anchor text and gain links from high authority sites safely. We build about 40 branded links this month spread across 4 target pages of the website on platforms such as web 2.0’s, social sharing sites, media sharing sites, industry directories, and online community profiles.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Month 4″ tab_id=”month-4″][vc_column_text]

Month 4 SEO Process Overview

Optimized Blog Post

We start month 3 with another high-quality 500-word blog post, thoroughly optimized to target longtail and buyer intent keywords. We submit the post for approval by you before posting. The blog post features correct on-page elements, interlinked using our internal anchor text strategy, and is also shared to the brand’s Facebook (If granted access), Twitter and Google+ profiles.

Deep Link Building

We use the optimized blog post as the target for additional link building, to help funnel link equity to our targeted pages. This promoted blog post strategy helps to capture even more keywords and traffic because the posts will often rank for longtail keywords while serving as a gateway for our link equity.

Write and Syndicate a Premium Press Release

This is a quality news release distributed to over 450 news and media outlets like Google News, CBS, Fox, ABC, CW, NBC affiliated broadcasting websites and more, including Associated Press journalists and thru AP Datafeatures services your press releases are distributed to major media outlets including Wall Street Journal, NEW YORK TIMES. WASHINGTON POST, USA TODAY, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Creates authority brand links and mentions and is a great way to launch any campaign.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
for mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.

Month 5 SEO Process Overview

Google Site Microsite

We create a custom Google Site’s Site with optimized embeds, media, and interlinked to a network of other relevant Google properties. These Google sites are effectively used to push rankings to other brand properties such as the website, a My Map, or an important industry listing or citation.

Branded Link Building

We continue building brand links this month to help diversify anchor text and gain links from high authority sites safely. We build about 40 branded links this month spread across 4 target pages of the website on platforms such as web 2.0’s, social sharing sites, media sharing sites, industry directories, and online community profiles.

Google Network Link Building

This strategy expands upon the Google Site created above and includes an interlinked network of Google assets that are publicly indexable and can be used for brand mentions and keyword relevancy including 12+ Interlinked Public Google Drive Properties that funnel SEO value back to the optimized Google Site.

Tier 2 Google Network Links

We promote the entire Google Microsite Network with quality tier 2 links designed to safely boost the Google properties while funneling additional relevance and equity to our target pages.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
for mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.

Month 6 SEO Process Overview

Blog Post

We start month 6 with a quality 500-word blog post, thoroughly optimized to target longtail and buyer intent keywords. We submit the post for approval before posting to the blog. The blog post features correct on-page elements, interlinked using our internal anchor text strategy, and is also shared to the brand’s Facebook (If granted access), Twitter and Google+ profiles.

Deep Linkbuilding

We use the optimized blog post as the target for additional link building, to help funnel link equity to our targeted pages. This promoted blog post strategy helps to capture even more keywords and traffic because the posts will often rank for longtail keywords while serving as a gateway for our link equity.

Page-Level Optimization (2nd Round)

We perform advanced on-page optimization beginning in month 2 based on the action plans developed during month 1. Tasks include Optimizing Title Tags, Metas, H1 and H2 Tags, Image Alt Text, Inner Linking Structure and Anchor Text, Outbound Link Structure and Anchor Text, Create and Validate Organizational Schema Script and Implement our TF-IDF Action Plan on one main targeted page.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
for mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.

Month 7+ SEO Process Overview

Alternate Between: Premium Press Release, Blog Posts and Brand Link Building

Month 7 starts with a Premium Press Release, and then each month after that we alternate the services between 3 options. Press Releases and Brand Links ensure that we continue some link velocity using branded anchors to pillow and diversify our contextual posting and authority placements if ordered. And our blog post helps continue to capture long-tail keywords, internal linking opportunities, and adds to the site’s total number of indexed pages.

Blog Post

Month 7 features another quality 500-word blog post, thoroughly optimized to target longtail and buyer intent keywords. We submit the post for approval before posting to the blog. The blog post features correct on-page elements, interlinked using our internal anchor text strategy, and is also shared to the brand’s Facebook (If granted access), Twitter and Google+ profiles.

Deep Linkbuilding

We use the optimized blog post as the target for additional link building, to help funnel link equity to our targeted pages. This promoted blog post strategy helps to capture even more keywords and traffic because the posts will often rank for longtail keywords while serving as a gateway for our link equity.

Real Social Signals Drip

Real social signals can help validate a brand’s increased online visibility. We use them as trust signals during our campaigns. These are small brand mentions, likes, shares etc from a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

5 Niche Link Placements

Each month we will acquire 5 high-quality, niche relevant backlinks. These links will be links on real websites and blogs. Our writing team finds topically relevant blogs and sites and our outreach team goes to work securing you the best links available. If you need more than 5 posts, select our option of additional links for even more ranking boost.

Index Links

Every link your site earns is hand submitted to Google Submit URL tool. This ensures that Google will crawl and evaluate your new links.

Authority Niche Placements
for mid and elite level campaigns

Our outreach links and editorial placements really have all of the prerequisites required for links in 2018 and the foreseeable future. Safe, editorial links need to appear naturally earned and native to the article that surrounds the link. Our sites are checked for spam and 100% clean, they are checked with 3rd party tools for trust and referring domains so you know they will pack a punch, and they are verified 100% real websites with real traffic (never PBNs) so you know they will not trigger a Penguin penalty.

Outside of that, here are some tools to help you figure out where your SEO stands now, and where you should put your resources first:

SEMrush.com:  keyword research, competitive research, and ranking tracking all in one place.  The free version gives you some decent data it you just want to see where you stand.

GTmetrix.com:  site speed analyzer that will show you how your site is performing, and what do change if the performance is poor.

Google webmaster tools:  All the tools google thinks you need to figure out how your website is performing, this speed analyzer will be particularly useful on this endeavor:  https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Those are just enough tools to make you dangerous, if you want more, get our comprehensive recommended tool list for online marketing here:

As always if you have any questions, just reach out, now go grow your practice!

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Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

How to Make Youtube your Social Media Marketing Tool

HOW TO MAKE YOUTUBE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TOOL

Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

How to make Youtube the best social media marketing tool for your business

The basics of making Youtube your social media marketing tool

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that Youtube is a social media channel/search engine for sharing video content.  That means you need to be ready to produce video if you want to utilize it.  If you aren’t ok with that, you need to find someone to produce videos for you,or just do it anyway.  Before you start shrinking into the shadows at the thought of being on video, realize that not all videos have to be close-ups of you or even have you in them at all.  For many businesses, the ideal videos range from testimonial videos from customers, to how-to videos showing your computer screen the whole time, or slideshow videos that showcase your best products or talents.  The best way to get started if you aren’t used to making videos?  Just get started. We have a whole series of videos called “Get the Idea” that were recorded in mass while working abroad, using construction paper as a green screen background.  No joke I used the drawer on my hotel nightstand to hold the microphone.  You don’t need production quality video to get started making Youtube a powerful marketing tool for your business.  Here’s what you do need:

Only have a minute?  You can Get the Idea of How to Make Youtube your Social Media Marketing Tool with our Get the Idea video HERE.

Understand that Youtube is a search engine

One mistake that many businesses make when starting out marketing through Youtube is that they forget that Youtube is the number one search engine in the world.  It is also owned by the number two search engine in the world, Google.  That means it’s not just about putting up entertaining videos, it’s about helping the search engines understand what those videos are about so they can put them in front of the right people.  In this case, the right people are people who will use your business services.  This means when you put up a video, the description is important, the tags are important, adding links to your website and other social media channels is important.

That also means like other search engines and social media networks the algorithm is judging the quality of your content.  If people aren’t watching more than a few seconds of your videos, if nobody is liking them or sharing them, and if nobody is subscribing to your channel, you will get moved to the back of the line.  That’s where nobody sees your business.  You don’t want that.  Create engaging content, give it a keyword rich description, and share it with the world every chance you get, and Youtube will reward you as a very effective marketing tool for your business.

Finally, this means that creating quality content on YouTube the right way, can help everything from your SEO to your reputation management online.  Paired with the right Google My Business category and listing, YouTube can be a very powerful tool to make sure that you control what people see first when searching for your business online.  One of the other reasons YouTube should your social media marketing tool of choice.

Contact us for a consultation

Have a plan for creating content

Of course, you are going to make 20 videos a day, every day, rain or shine, just like everybody else does…right?  If you don’t have a content creation plan when you are using social media networks as marketing tools, you have a plan to fail.  Social media networks are supposed to be social.  That means you need to regularly engage with your customers, leads, and even critics on them if you want to be successful.  Starting a Youtube channel, adding three videos, and then never coming back is the equivalent of leaving the closed sign-up and the lights off at your business 24 hours a day.  If someone finds your business on a social media network and it hasn’t been active in years, at best they will assume you aren’t relevant, at worst they will think you are out of business or lazy.  Everyone has a phone that can make videos these days, there’s no excuse for not making regular content, but I promise if you don’t have a plan, you will manage to find excuses.  Create a plan you can stick to, or someone you delegate it to can stick to and then do it.  Even if the content isn’t good (our Get the Idea videos are sometimes downright awful), you will get better just by doing it regularly, I promise.

READY TO TAKE YOUR ONLINE MARKETING TO THE NEXT LEVEL?  SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION HERE

Have a plan for sharing your content

There isn’t a lot of point to making content nobody will ever see.  It always amazes me when I see people posting daily, or paying someone else to post daily to a social media channel that gets literally zero engagement.  While it’s important to keep an active presence online, it’s more important to keep an engaging presence online.  In the beginning, that means annoying your friends and family, existing clients and customers, and other people in your industry to get their support.  As your content gets better, your following gets bigger, and the search engines start to notice you more, you can be less annoying.  The other side to this is that if nobody sees your content, you don’t get feedback.  Yes, for some of you that sounds great, but it’s not productive.  Feedback is what makes your business and your marketing improve and grow.  Get out in front of the world!

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Re-Purpose all of your YouTube content

The really great thing about videos is that they are easy to repurpose.  A ten-minute video can easily be turned into 5 two minute videos highlighting specific topics, one long and two short blog posts, several gifs, a short podcast, a new cover video for your Facebook page, 10 Instagram and Twitter videos, and a ten minute Facebook video.  Do not share your YouTube videos on Facebook, upload them directly.  Facebook and Google are the big dogs in this arena, and they fight like it.  Sharing content from YouTube on Facebook is a really great way to see your Facebook page tank.  Take advantage of the transcription tool on Youtube to convert your video to written content.  From there you can easily edit it into those blog posts and long Facebook posts.  Back to the whole search engine thing, if you want to show up number one in Google for basket weaving, posting your basket weaving video to Youtube, then sharing it in your blog post about basket weaving on your website that links to your social media pages with a lot of posts about basket weaving, is a really good start.  Re-purposing your content makes that much easier and more efficient.

Remember that your YouTube videos don’t have to be amazing, but they can’t suck

Amateur looking videos go together with social media like peanut butter and jelly.  Here are some things that will move you from amateur to annoying really fast though:

  1.  Bad sound:  like nails on a chalkboard or loud chewers, bad sound on a video is one of the most annoying things to many people.  It’s also one of the fastest ways to lose your audience.  Invest in a decent portable microphone, talk into it, and stay out of the wind.  The video from your phone will be just fine, the sound from its’ microphone will not.
  2. Bad lighting:  People want to be able to see what’s going on.  Low lighting, poor lighting, or obtrusive shadows will drive people crazy and make them quickly give up on your content.  Get a basic lighting kit, Amazon has tons of them, or use natural light from big windows or being outdoors on sunny days.
  3. Bad angles:  Nobody wants to see up your nose or only see one side of your face.  Just like selfies, don’t shoot video from underneath and try to center yourself in the video.  It’s ok to be slightly off to one side if you have something else to get in the shot, but if you are the focus, keep yourself the focus.
  4. Self-Serving topics.  You wouldn’t sign up for a TV station that was all commercials, so don’t ask your customers and fans to.  Social media videos should provide value, education, or entertainment.  They should not be all about how to buy your products and how great they are or your most recent sale.  Stay social, not salesy.
  5. Being fake:  people go to social media networks to get to know other people.  Unless you are a great actor, your acting will show through in your video.  Be real, connect like you would with real people, and you will be rewarded.  That also means mistakes are ok and sometimes even endearing, so go with them.  Nobody expects or wants you to be an actor on social media.

Have a plan for paid advertising online

YouTube advertising is connected to the Google network, so you have a lot of power in that platform.  If you create your content strategy correctly, your videos on YouTube will help you identify your best potential customers.  Use that knowledge to follow up with them in a meaningful way with paid advertising.  That doesn’t mean follow them around with the same annoying product image EVERYWHERE they go, nobody likes that.  But if someone watched your basket weaving basics video, following up with them for an ad for you online intermediate basket weaving e-course, or downloadable suppliers list, or anything that will further your relationship with them and bring them closer to becoming a customer is just common sense.  There is still nowhere you can put your advertising dollars that will be the ROI of online marketing when done correctly, remember that.  Don’t believe anyone that says the Google, YouTube, or Facebook ads don’t work.

The Wrap Up

We could go on for hours about How to Make Youtube your Social Media Marketing Tool of choice, but hopefully, now you have some solid strategies in place to make it a powerful tool for your business.  As always if you have questions email us with them, or visit our knowledge center for more free tutorials, videos, and blogs on marketing and business success.

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Top 5 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Top 5 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Your Facebook Ads Don’t Work, Now What?

The truth about why your Facebook Ads don’t work

You know your business needs to grow, and you know everyone is on Facebook, so it has to be the best place to advertise right?  For most businesses, the answer is yes, the problem is, it isn’t as easy as you think it is.  Most of you would never even consider that you are the ideal person to create your own tv commercial, assume you know the optimal station and time to put it on, and then just step back and wait for the flood of new customers to come rushing in.  But almost every small business on the planet expects Facebook ads to operate exactly that way.

 

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I mean, you put up a picture and 10,000 people on Facebook saw it, you should have 10,000 new customers already right?  Obviously Facebook Ads just don’t work.  Of course not, so stop thinking that’s all it takes.  There is a reason people like professional copywriters, graphic designers, branding specialists, media buyers, videographers, professional photographers, digital marketers, Facebook ad specialists and search engine marketers exist, and why the good ones are paid A LOT of money.  It’s because unless you are extremely lucky, it isn’t that simple.

That being said there are a few things that will greatly increase your chances of success:

Top Facebook Ads Success Strategies

Identify your ideal customer before you start running Facebook Ads

If you don’t know exactly who you are trying to reach, and exactly what action you want them to take, then you will never reach the right person, and they will never do what you want them to.  Too many businesses take an, if you build it they will come, type of strategy, which is no strategy at all unless you are Kevin Costner, and if you are reading this, you aren’t.  Take the time to clearly identify your ideal customer or avatar, if you have no idea how you can get our free 20-minute customer avatar workshop here.

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Don’t know where to start?  Think of your ideal customer, think of everything you know about them, where they vacation, where they live, what experts they trust, what tv shows they watch.  Dig deep.  Come up with as in-depth of a profile as you can, and now you have someplace to start.  Don’t have any customers yet?  Get a competitor analysis done, or go to a website like SEMrush and type in your primary competitor and they will give you back information on who they are targeting, who they are reaching, and who they consider their top competitors.

One more hack using Facebook is to find a Facebook Page of one of your top competitors, like it, and then see who Facebook automatically recommends you also like.  This will be a list of the people your ideal audience is most likely to follow on Facebook, and a list of more companies to use for targeting and research.

Want to learn more about what Facebook advertising could do for your business?  Schedule a free marketing consultation with one of our Business Development Specialists HERE

Facebook ads don’t work if you don’t know who you are trying to reach.

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer and what action you want them to take, it’s now a lot easier to find them.  Now you can answer: Who do they trust?  Who do they read?  Who do they let advise them?  Those answers are some really great ideas for targeting your initial Facebook ads.  Trying to find people in a certain income bracket now that Facebook has removed those categories?  What kind of car does someone in that income bracket drive?  Where do they live?  Where do they vacation?  What kind of schools do their kids go to?  What kind of university did they go to?  Luckily you can now answer those questions.

If you stop using the same targeting as everyone else and get to know your ideal customer better, you’ll not only reach them more effectively, you’ll do it more cost-effectively because you won’t be competing with EVERYONE else for that generic target market.

If you don’t structure FB ad campaigns in a way that can be tested, and then tested, and then tested again…Facebook ads don’t work

Facebook Ads Testing

Stop assuming you know what will resonate with your consumer, you don’t.  Nobody does.  Michael Masterson put it well in Ready, Fire, Aim, “Business is not and must never be about what the business owner thinks is good or right.  Business is about providing value to the customer.  And that value can be determined only by the customer.”  It’s not any different for your marketing.  No matter how clever you think your writing is, or how cool your video looks, the only thing that matters is if it gets the customer to take the action you need them to take.

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Facebook ads don’t work when you assume you know things you don’t.  The most seasoned digital marketing professionals will tell you that x,y, and z strategies work most of the time, and every single one of them will also tell you about a time they didn’t do any of that and it was the most successful campaign of their career.  The good news is that the internet is the absolute best place to test any and all marketing because you actually get feedback and data about how your advertising is resonating with potential customers.

Generally speaking eye-catching, dynamic images, or very personal images(you know, the kind you expect to see on social media that look nothing like ads) will be your best friend for your ad campaigns.  But you don’t know which image(s) will catch your ideal customers attention until you start running your campaigns.  So set up a few campaigns with a few images each, and after they’ve reached 8-10,000 people(minimum), start eliminating the ones that just aren’t producing.  The same thing goes for messaging.  Don’t assume your clever slogan or kitschy sarcasm will knock people over and have them emailing you immediately.  Try out different kinds of messaging that will resonate in different ways.  And always remember that your job is to get people to feel the way they should feel after their buying experience with you.  Too many of you try to market only product features and most people buy feelings and emotions, not features and numbers.  Sell on emotion, then help people justify the purchase with features and benefits, not the other way around.

Even though we would typically tell you that video ads get the most traction on Facebook, we’ve had campaigns that have had massive success with a simple personal image that had nothing to do with the campaign or a dynamic video animation that just caught attention.  Don’t assume, leave room for incremental and easy improvements in all of your campaigns, and test.

Consult a professional Facebook Ads Strategist

Unless you understand re-targeting, pixels, custom audiences, ROAS, DPA’s, when you want 75% video views versus when you want 3-second videos, TOF, MOF, and BOF ad strategies, how to split test, and how to scale a FB ad campaign effectively, you have no business running your own ads.  A big part of the reason your Facebook ads don’t work is that you don’t know what you are doing well enough to really utilize the power of the Facebook platform.  So either take the time to learn the basics(yes those are just the basics), or consult with a professional, hire a professional to run ads for you.  Boosting posts is not an effective FB ads strategy, and the truth is, you should be really good at your business, not really good at high-level marketing strategy(unless that is your business), so invest in yourself and your business.

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Be congruent with your Facebook Advertising

This really applies to all marketing, but particularly to FB advertising.  If you want your Facebook Ads to be cost-effective and produce results, make sure your targeting, messaging, and landing page all line up.  In other words, if you choose business owners as your target audience(don’t do that it’s way too broad), then in your ad copy, say “Hey Business Owners!” and when they click on the link in your ad, it should take them somewhere that says “Business owners, are you tired of seeing your hard-earned Facebook Advertising dollars wasted on really bad targeting options like “business owners”?”  Facebook likes congruency because it knows so do human beings.

As for the human factor, realize that if you send someone from an ad that says “business owners” to a website or landing page, or messenger bot, or whatever, that says “hey fitness enthusiasts!”, even if your product is for business owners who are also fitness enthusiasts, you’ve just created confusion in the buying process.  Your job is to make it as easy as possible for someone to do exactly what you want them to do, and guess what?  Confusing them doesn’t do that at all.  Keep your messaging consistent, call out your audience clearly and consistently, and make what you want them to do clear and, you guessed it, consistent, and watch your ad costs go down, and your results go up.

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A few bonus Facebook Advertising Hacks:

If you had a video that was performing well an then died, create a custom thumbnail and replace the thumbnail of the video to get renewed attention.

Using dynamic product ads for re-targeting for more than 7 days can result in reduced relevance scores and more negative feedback.  It’s great to use specific product re-targeting, but if a visitor hasn’t responded to your ad after a week, it’s time for a new approach. This applies to other types of ads too.  If you are forcing the same exact ad into someone’s newsfeed for two months they are going to get tired of it and your campaigns are going to suffer.  Rotate advertising based on time-lapse since engagement and/or use frequency capping to ensure you aren’t annoying your potential customers.

If you have a high cost per click or just low clicks, in general, it’s usually because of your creative.  Make sure your copy speaks to and calls out your target audience, and make sure your image grabs attention, and if fixing those doesn’t work you most likely have an issue with your targeting.

Be a minimalist:  start with what you have and test.  Don’t spend money on professional video or copywriting for ads before you’ve tested images you have and simple direct messaging.

Video Vs. Image:  Video tends to get more reach on Facebook, but for direct advertising, static images get higher conversion rates in many situations.  Test all of your creative but don’t be afraid to run an ad with a single image.

Want to learn more about what Facebook advertising could do for your business?  Schedule a free marketing consultation with one of our Business Development Specialists HERE

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Growing your sales team the right way

Growing your sales team the right way

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How to start growing your sales team the right way

You’ve got your business going and you are smart enough to know that your main focus needs to be generating sales as quickly as possible in the first years. Your marketing is on point, your product has been proven in the market, you have systems in place so you are ready to handle the new growth and it’s time to hire a professional to start generating sales. So where do you find the perfect person to add to your team to help it grow? How do you hire the right sales team members to grow your business?

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These five steps will get you prepared not only for hiring the best possible sales professionals, but it will make sure you have the tools they need to be successful:
1. The job description:

Sales professionals need to be great communicators and they need to be able to sell themselves as well as they can sell your product. That means sometimes your next great sales professional can be your favorite local business’ customer service representative, your favorite bartender, or your neighbor’s hyper-motivated nephew, but for most of us, a job description is where you get started.

The first thing to remember when creating any job description is to make sure it is aligned with your company culture. If you run an ad for killer sales machine that knows coffee is only for closers, while the rest of your business is run like casual Friday every day with safe spaces in every room, you will be destined for failure from the beginning. Company culture mis-matches will break the best employees, but particularly those that have to withstand the turmoil that can come along with a professional sales career.

You should also clearly define what kind of sales you are expecting the professional to perform.  In most situations you should look for people with a track record of success in corporate product sales over service sales.  This is because corporate environments focus on results and performance, and products can’t be tailored and manipulated like services can to make sales easier.  Someone with a history of success in a corporate environment selling products will most likely be able to find success in any system you put them into.

Clearly describe who you are looking for on a personal level as well as a professional level, and make sure that person actually fits into the environment you have created in your business. If you’ve had repeated failures with sales hires this is one of the first places to look at for potential problems.

 

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2. Pay:

This is a tricky situation for multiple reasons, and is more aligned with the previous topic than you may realize. If you value security heavily on a personal level, particularly financial security, and hire commission only salespeople, you may have a serious mismatch at a cultural and personal level that you need to be prepared to handle. On the flip side, if you are running a company that is growing at a furious pace and taking healthy risks and asking your team to go along for the ride, a lower “safer” salary may not appeal to the kind of team players you need to help you reach your goals. One idea often overlooked by employers is the concept of longevity as well. Consider building long-term residual commissions into hiring contracts that entice people to stay long-term to receive greater rewards to reduce the churn often seen in professional sales environments.

For most sales professionals a balance between security and the potential for massive rewards is the ideal pay structure, but consider the type of people you want to attract to your organization before making a final decision on this.

3. Take their resume seriously:

You need high-level communicators that are convincing enough to get prospects to trust them with their time and their money. If an applicant sends you a resume that doesn’t wow you, they aren’t the candidate for your position. Even if most of the communication will be done over the phone, there is always some written communication, particularly in today’s world of texting and un-answered phones, so if they can’t put together something special for a potential boss, you should assume they won’t do much better for a potential sale.

This is another place to look for culture mis-matches and save yourself headaches down the road. If the applicants language choices, interests, or history are an obvious clash with your company culture, consider that a serious red-flag in the hiring process.

4. Have a standard interview process:

It’s easy to get excited by a conversation or a resume and think you’ve found the savior of your business. And while getting sold that hard by someone is a good sign when hiring a sales professional, you need to have a standard interview process that can help you identify holes and issues before you’ve already committed to something. A phone interview with some standard questions is a good place to start, but consider adding a critical thinking process as well. If after giving a prospect an overview of your business and your processes they can’t come up with solid solutions to common issues they will face, or if they aren’t even willing to do the work required to understand your company and answer those questions, are they likely to be a good fit for your company?

Other simple tricks include asking for a simple yet obvious task to be performed directly in the job ad:  Title your email with your favorite 80’s movie, at the bottom of your cover letter add the name of your favorite teacher from high school, etc.  While being detail oriented isn’t one of the most critical skills in some sales position, this will show you if your applicant is likely to pay attention to details requested by prospects and potential customers as well.

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5.  Clearly Identify Your Ideal Customer

This is one a lot of businesses get wrong in general and not only in the hiring process. If you don’t clearly know who you are trying to get as your customers, you will be stuck running a business accepting business from anyone who gives it to you, and that is a recipe for misery and failure.  Consequently, it’s also a recipe for failure for your salespeople who will bring you any kind of business they can close because they don’t understand the focus of the company they are working for because neither do you.  If you don’t already know exactly who your ideal client or “avatar” is, think of your favorite existing customer or the customer you’ve been dreaming of get them and clearly describe them.  What do they read, who do they listen to, where do they work, what kind of income do they have, where do they go on vacation, where do they live, etc?  As a bonus, once you’ve identified your customer at that level, they not only become easier for your salespeople to identify, they also become much easier to find with your marketing because you now already know exactly which demographics to target.

And now that you have your marketing, your targeting, your goals, and your new growing sales team completely aligned, you can’t help but find success.

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One bonus tip, stolen completely from “built to sell” is to hire salespeople in 2’s whenever possible.  Salespeople by nature are competitive or they wouldn’t have chosen such a difficult career, and giving them someone to compete with on results can dramatically improve their results and their motivation.

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Real Business Growth Strategies with the Real Brad Lea

Real Business Growth Strategies with the Real Brad Lea

 

Sean: Okay Brad thanks for taking the time to be with everyone today and sharing some of your insight. For anyone that’s not already familiar with who you are and what you do, can you give us a little introduction and let us know what you’re going to talk about today?

Brad Lea: Yeah absolutely! My name is Brad Lea, I am the founder and CEO of Lightspeed VT. It’s a web-based interactive virtual training solutions company and I’m going to talk about anything you want today.

Sean: So as US told us before the interview you handle is the real Brad Lea and I know from reading your material a lot, check some of your video that you think it’s really important especially today to be genuine as a business person, as a real person because to your point somehow you’re going to get find out eventually between social media interviews whatever. What’s the value in being genuine and why do you think that is all important to connect with the audience?

Brad Lea: Well, I mean yeah because you know amongst many qualities that are valuable, “Authenticity and keeping it real is a way to create longevity” because if you were to be kind of fake, or pose or you know present yourself in such a way that isn’t real, it’s only a matter of time before someone discovers that and or you know exposes that, and next thing you know your business crumbles because you built it on a false facade. Well, so like me if someone doesn’t like me you know I don’t want to find out after we’re in an agreement together. If you don’t like me upfront then you know let’s not do business. If you meet me up front and want to do business with me, and three months later it was all fake and now all of a sudden you hear me you know say you don’t drop of word you don’t like or have a philosophy you don’t like now now we’re in a bad situation so you got to keep it real.

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Sean: How many do you think we need to get I don’t feel familiar with Donald Miller but uh ketta story brand he’s a marketing guy one of his books he talks about almost doing this one of ulnar ability is where you really connect with people because maybe says a lot of us we reach situations that are live that we think people won’t appreciate it or we need to hide and put up masks little by little we all see come on to connect with people do you think you give to that point everything you think you hold at least some of it back which is genuine with your personality

Brad Lea: No I mean I don’t hold anything back I mean obviously using some common sense and business acumen you don’t go too far but I say keep it real I mean and not only that but Boehner ability sells I mean I do these shows on Facebook live from my fanpage I do these things called the bottom lines with different gas Daymond John you know different celebrities that use the BT system and brands that come in and a couple of times you know it really got vulnerable a couple people started crying I mean people love that they connect with that people want authenticity these days

Sean:I think that’s absolutely true and I think that’s a great point I just was wondering after you thought that too or if you’re just like hey go out there so another thing is your thing I guess if your story a little bit why do you think it’s the point I believe that anything is possible as a business owner it’s important to believe that you know I did to keep that mentality like you know why do you think that’s important for your success

Brad Lea: well we will anything is possible and and be because if you don’t believe that you’re limiting your abilities to succeed you’re limiting your ability to expand anything is possible I mean it’s you know a lot of people want to try and you know come up with something smart I see like you know well you can’t fly well yes you can have you heard of Orville and Wilbur Wright before

Sean: so how do you think you know that’s a really good point in modern society there are a lot of constraints a lot of people will sit there and tell you that anything is not in fact possible or you know especially with entrepreneurs as you get out there and you’re not from a family of business owners entrepreneurs a big lasting I have this idea I’m going to get it done you can have a lot of naysayers and a lot of people holding you back how do you keep that anything is possible mentality you know in those kind of situations

Brad Lea: well I mean I think my variance in life is proving it to me I mean I dropped out of high school and 11th grade went to LA to be a movie star landed a starring role in a movie three days before production the producer son
got got the part instead of me a little bit of nepotism there but you know when went through life just seeing things that were impossible happen I mean anything is possible and I believe it because I’ve seen it and I think anybody else has seen it too they may they may not be paying attention so again I mean if you have a if you have any other belief other than that you’re limiting yourself and that’s most people’s problem most people limit themselves you know there’s a lot of companies that go in and they work off budgets you know it sounds crazy but like I don’t operate off of a budget because I believe budgets are basically limits like why would you go in and plan your limits for the year yeah so but but again I mean you know a Harvard Graduate in business would say you know I won’t be in business well again I am in business our business is exploding I was doing it 17 years ago when there wasn’t any online learning so it wasn’t even heard of he barely has a cell phone back then and you know everyone said this wouldn’t work well again here we are working like a son of a gun so anything’s possible for my company

Sean: how did you stay motivated for 14 years when your building didn’t take me 14 years to develop it it took me 14 years to catch up to time so like we were ahead of our time and as I was out there knocking on doors for the first 14 years you know Internet just remember back when people didn’t want websites nowadays if you don’t have a website and a good looking website you’re not even real and I don’t care how real you are you’re perceived as fake cheap broke out of business not good not credible if your website doesn’t represent you well I remember when come when I was selling websites way back in the day and people were like we don’t need one we don’t want one well guess what that change didn’t it so it took us 40 years to catch up catch up I mean we were ahead of our time so a lot of the heartache and pain and challenges that I went through I just believed it in 90 days everything would be different I still believe that I was just having a meeting with some of my staff I said man in 90 days this would be night and day so just literally I didn’t try to think too far ahead just donated a if you can you know focus for 90 days it’s a lot easier next thing you know it’s been 15 years 90 days at a time I want to write a book one day called how do you how to get anything you want in 90 days and the days will be spelled da ve because you just get in two days and look down and work for 90 days and then you look up and if you haven’t attained what it is you set out to do look back down and repeat that step and in one of those 90 day cycles you’ll look up and and and find success well it could have been 13 90 day cycles to get it but it’s still within that 90-day so how you get anything you want 90 days there you go people to look at golden yeah you take 90 days or did someone help you pick that or just belief you know I figured when I started my company would be about 90 days before I made my first million yeah in 90 days I didn’t have my first million didn’t I didn’t I my first customer so guess what I talked to a lot of people a lot of people were getting ready to call me back and say yes oh man all I need now is 90 more days for that and that just kept going it was it was uh you know again like it seems like it was a year ago I started my company but if you ask me right now I would think don’t things going to travel but 90 days it’ll be twice as good as it is now that’s a great outlet I think you guys on something else is really important to being first sometimes there’s a difficult a lot of times being second or third in the market obviously is easier to someone leave the path for you so for something out there that’s got a really good idea and they’re struggling against being ahead of their time like you were what kind of lessons did you learn that maybe would help them well I mean I like to innovate so I mean I don’t want to be second I want to be third I want to be first if I have to go through the heartache for everybody else hallelujah but I think if you’re not first you’re you’re copying the first and I just like to be first you know as as they say the view never changes unless you’re the lead dog yeah because otherwise you’re just looking at the same you know on a sledding team the dogs are all chained up well other than the lead dog but you never changes the dogs behind you’re just looking at the same thing which is which is the first dog’s ass you know a lot about training and training employees and stocks as a business owner when you’re hiring what was the most important thing to consider when you’re developing a training program fair style accountability inspect what you expect in repetition see a lot of lot of companies when they set up a training program they think hey go through this okay they went through it now what well know go through it a million times I can sing a song right now and anybody that watches this video will be able to sing it with me and it’s based on repetition it’s your ABCs happy birthday to you any of those songs you know why you know those songs because of repetition they didn’t walk in and say okay welcome to first grade here’s your alphabet and then now the next day let’s move on to arithmetic you stayed on the same subject over and over so I think the most important thing a company or an entrepreneur can do to train their people effectively is to make sure that there’s repetition and accountability some people don’t realize that training is uncomfortable you know you go to the gym to get asked I don’t know anything about apps but I heard it’s very uncomfortable to get them it’s uncomfortable to give up that piece of cake it’s uncomfortable to get up early enough to do the work well that’s why people with ads you know have apps there willing to be uncomfortable to get that that goal training is the same way training is uncomfortable employees a lot of times bitch and moan about training or they’ll say I’ve done it well training isn’t something you did it’s something you do so any business owner has to understand that’s their business that’s their brand that’s their future and if you don’t insist on implementing a learning culture within your organization you’re going to be operating less than efficiently high-skilled well-trained employees makes the difference between you know really doing well and just doing all right is there a chance of motivating employees to want to do the training or follow through in the training have you found some good techniques for that the best technique ever is termination ok let me say so I mean people always think I’m joking would we bet you know a lot of companies we’ve seen a lot of successful implementations and the best one ever is if you don’t train you don’t work here how about that and they had a hundred percent adoption but you know the key is they were also the most you know one of the most successful groups in their field if you look at today because I look at training data all the time the number one people on earth trained the most the best athletes the best teams the best companies the best people they’re all reading and learning and growing and training all the time the highest paid people on the planet are the are usually a sales commission based or the most highly trained and even in the sales commission that’s true so companies are afraid to hold their people accountable I mean I’ve spent a lot of time money blood sweat and tears building this company if you come here if you don’t want to be trained you’re not interested in growing and improving well then I’m not interested in having you on my team so here if you don’t want to train you know go find another job and if something a business owners did that more often training would become normal training would become commonplace and when you got job somewhere you would almost expect it funny thing is is most of the most of the highest level employees come in here that I’ve hired have have inquired about the training like what training do you provide good employees will ask you what kind of training you provide you know the ones that say oh you know I know I don’t need to train those are the ones that won’t be there anyway a lot of companies will spend $50,000 advertising to get people in their door but they won’t invest in training you know $1,000 a month to train everybody on staff to keep them you know highly skilled motivated just chump changes but it’s the single highest ROI you can make but people don’t value it because it doesn’t work very well and they can’t measure it well if you trace back back it doesn’t work very well because they’re not doing it effectively they’re making people go through once they’re not testing anybody to see if they actually retain the information and they don’t hold them accountable to the information so anyway I’ll ramble about that for days man train your people topic and the question ever makes sense for you to do internal training or should you always be looking for a company that that’s what they do and they can do it better than no I mean you have to have a blend I mean there’s nobody that can teach my people here my philosophies better than me you know internally we teach culture we teach you know various things but you know I’m not an expert on sexual harassment so I just hire a sexual harassment expert or you know if our sales techniques need to be modified or motivational you know I’ll get Eric Thomas Grant Cardone Tony Robb and some of our clients we we assign training from our clients left and right it’s a blend just like it shouldn’t necessarily all be online you can train live the problem with live is that there’s no repetition and most times no accountability so what you do is you train live to answer questions and then you put them on a virtual or an online system to get the repetition and the accountability so you a blended approach is best and it works the same with content you’re going to want some of your own stuff you know watch some of the other people’s stuff I think that brings up a good question – do you think that a web-based and virtual training are going to be the gold standard of the future for everything right here in college well the gold standard will only be if you’re on the Lightspeed VT platform because everything else out there is kind of antiquated because it’s built by techies and they’re not looking to cater to the user experience so no plug intended the gold standard will be light speed or it already is but I think what you’re asking is do I think our online learning your web-based learning is going to grow and be what everyone does I think yes because it’s more efficient it’s more scalable it’s less money it’s more effective you know it’s just a better mousetrap but I don’t think live training will go away and it shouldn’t I think there’ll be a bigger and bigger blend but studies show that the online learning industry will increase by 300% in the next five years we also do conferences we also talked to people about to do lab obviously but I do see you know the virtual reality comes along we’re actually working with companies doing virtual reality medical training now where you know it forces your patients and the different things they can do it through them and some of their content so it was something I would have even considered possible but you know probably thanks to people like you we’re going to see a lot more of that so I discovered that it was gonna dominate in your opinion is your Tom mating force it can be where if you don’t have a virtual training system I call it virtual online learning whatever success takes me but if you have web-based learning system you’re eventually going to go out of business by the people who do I think that’s absolutely true let’s take a look at a ship from that pretty a business to your marketing so I think you do some really creative marketing and you have a lot of good content how important it is to be creative with your marketing and not just do that the standard thing is you obviously kind of go outside the box with a lot of your video content a lot of your online content how does that paid off do you think that’s like really important if you think being real is more important than you can kind of be boring as long as you’re yourselves now people don’t like boring you guys give me some examples cuz I’m not sure what it is I’m doing this all created well I got your video that you know people will come in and there’s filters behind them where they’re a different planet and also a movie clip will pop in next to that and you know they’re picking up different themes that you’re working with other people obviously love these videos but you know the video editing techniques you’re doing we’re not seeing a lot of I don’t see a lot of that leaves to see a lot of people that are you know certain angles once in a while but it’s just that one person talking here literally you disappear that the person you’re talking with reappears behind you you know just something that you don’t see a lot of people do and even some of the topics I think you’ve talked about beards and one time you know that kind of stuff well yeah that you’re talking about the bottom line series I have well the bottom line are basically two minute opinions but they’re not opinions if there’s a bottom line on whatever subject you want Trump pickup lines money investing success motivation beards like anything anything you want to know about by the way you can send in what you want my bottom line hot and all film one matter of fact I was just filming two before we jumped on here but the special effects I guess you would say are the editing that goes into them is because I have a staff of editors so most people don’t so you know they hold up their phone or turn on their camera and they have a little bit of editing talent so they lightly edit it and put it out there but in some cases I just hold up my phone and make the video like you go to my Instagram you might see a bottom-line clip on there just to share it there but most of the content is just holding up my phone and talking regardless of whether you have editors or not you just want to make make it interesting I mean you want to you want to try to show an interesting life which by the way even if you don’t get any followers and it doesn’t have any benefit the benefit is you’ll have an interesting life I mean think about it if I held up you know me sitting there eating a sandwhich watching television for 20 min everyone’s gonna be like what’s going on so literally every day I think you know what what’s interesting today oh there’s a customer that’s interesting let me talk to the customer the bottom lines are interesting because most people are afraid to get the perspective I give or keep it real like I do and people are finding it interesting and what’s funny is you know we’re getting you know thousands of views on videos that really might offend some people when in reality nobody’s offended they’re all liking it which is crazy because on some of them I drop them to get a little bit you know I wanted to get a little controversy and all thumbs up and they liked it question about that a lot of marketers will tell you with your content would be very specific actually your target audience obviously you’re approaching some probabilistic you know concepts there is that’s more about you putting out your real ground there when you’re doing that like is this about your personal brand or are you expecting or utilizing that effectively to bring people into your your online business as well people don’t usually follow businesses so people people follow people you know I don’t follow Virgin America or Virgin Airlines I follow Richard Branson so I’m establishing myself as a brand or or a person really I’m not brand but people say that um I’m just establishing my life and I think by doing that they’re going to say who is this guy well he owns Lightspeed what’s Lightspeed it’s a natural progression to what it is you do but I don’t connect them I mean when I’m on as Bradley you know that’s me my life and you know what’s in it and that’s it it does however start connecting to real life I’ve had a lot of deals happen because they saw me on social media they liked what I had to say they started looking me up realized I started and founded the most you know innovative training platform there is started looking into that next thing you know they came and became a cost so social media and especially Facebook I think is a must and nobody wants to see you know a company they want to see people so I was a long way of saying you know I I don’t connect them I was just curious example you get like you’re Richard Branson his persona is a Spencer mercenaire life every two clinics are adventure you know like your Steve Jobs was you know if you were in Geneva tea and different of that kind of connect with Apple yours kind of this is me and these are all the things that we’ll talk about it does I just was curious if that is to build your training problems if I hang on a virtual train of thought what we can do everything or we building a personal brand that was just your personal brand you know you can do other things well again you know more the ladder it’s just for me I’ll talk about anything I want to talk about I’ll give any opinion you people want to know of me and it has nothing to do with with the company however it is driving business to the company so it wasn’t intentional like Bradley social solution I’m just trying to do my social media and I’m trying to you know give out information and nuggets so a lot of the Millennials you know don’t make the same mistakes I do I’m right in the middle of writing a book called the hard way and basically it’s you know should I learn the hard way so you don’t have to because I didn’t I didn’t do the smart thing I didn’t you know read books and find mentors and apply what they’ve taught I did it on my own I was you know to cool so I thought I knew everything which I didn’t and I had to go out and bloody my knuckles and get that lip and do it the hard way and now I guess entrepreneurs or entrepreneurialism nowadays kind of the cool thing to do so I put a lot of that social media out there to try and help those that are forging into the entrepreneurial world so they don’t have to do it the hard way like I did because I mean the smart ones you learn from other people’s mistakes you don’t have to make them yourself which was actually exactly I was curious about what was being yourself also attracting business which obviously it is tell you not to do it that way you know your interesting case study I’m doing the opposite of what a lot of people will tell you that’s when is a question that’s great you know it’s funny because one time we had an employee that was questioning some things at the office and so our HR director said read handbook which caused me to go read the handbook and I’m like who wrote this handbook and it was all corporate II like we got it from IBM or something and I said you know we we need a better handbook so I spent three days at home over the weekend and I wrote every word in the handbook and the first the first word of the handbook is sup so but it says you know we fly in the face of conventional wisdom because a lot of times by conventional wisdom is wrong you know just because they do it doesn’t mean it makes it right and most people follow conventional wisdom and if you look at the stats how many people make it how many people are successful they always talk about the 1% well why isn’t there more I mean its conventional wisdom for Pete say that you’re competing with everyone else doing the same exact thing we actually definitely talked to you before he was John Carter and he’s a trading expert in stock market he said everyone’s read the same books everyone’s using the same techniques he’s like in the first know that so when they look for a movement they know how to knock out all this people they’re trying to practice that you know the conventional wisdom becomes a trading so he’s like if you can go a little bit outside that I prepared for that be aware of that it’s like you’ll actually find more success that way now you know both this out there so you know created value something similar concept yeah well again I mean I think I think in most cases I agree in some cases conventional wisdom is you know something to consider you know again you don’t ever want to throw away advice you want to process it see if it applies to you in your situation and apply it when necessary there’s a lot of conventional wisdom that I that I do take like you know don’t don’t rob banks you know there’s good bodies out there where you don’t need to be the pioneer but you’ll usually you know ask any pioneer in any industry and they’re the ones you know with the arrows in their back you know the Pioneers get the arrows the settlers getting to land so sometimes it’s not fair but I would highly recommend you fly in the face of conventional wisdom most times now in degree we have another possessor of the conference let’s talk about his confidence think wrong you know it’s actually don’t be afraid to think robber one of the government believe you’re wrong for the same concepts you know all the pioneers everyone thought they were crazy every little bit of wrong a lot of them I mean we know in history like some people were literally killed or you know ostracized for a concept that now we all believe is perfectly correct but in their time you know nobody could except so I think that’s a great advice one thing I really like to ask you about you’re obviously really good up electricuted partnerships you’re bringing as you said a lot of people on your show you do videos with celebrities you’ve used that to leverage your personal brand really really well what’s your strategy for creating those kind of strategic partnerships for growing your brand you know I wish I had some genius answer or I don’t really have a strategy again I’m lucky in the fact that I get to interact and hang around a lot of successful powerful you know people including celebrities and so I like to take advantage of opportunities I mean they’re in my office Hayes I mean let me throw a video together to teach somebody something or let me get their opinion on something and so I’ll just throw it on social media also you know a little bit of strategy if I feature for example Tony Robbins in a video there’s a lot of people who love Tony Robbins so Tony plays it for his people and then people are exposed to me so they have a chance to say hey I like that guy he’s real of course it’s backfire to where someone said it was bad idiot so whatever well you cut a lot but obviously there’s if you’re in the right places to meet those right people there’s something to that whether it’s just you being realyourself and happening so how does for example how do you get the other video and Tony Robbins was it just to your training you know a company or did something lead up to those kind of connections well you know I would ask everybody in the world you know Tony Robbins because I need to show him like my sister I showed him my system won’t make a deal so eventually someone knew Tony Robbins and so they got me a five-minute meeting in his hotel room while he was in San Francisco and that five minutes turned into an hour and a half then actually down to his new place in Florida and closed him you know I a lot of people say I’m the guy that closes the guys that teach you how to close come on obviously I think it’s explained a lot that was through severe Jerry you went out and said I gotta find this guy somebody find this guy and it made it happen so yeah luck is when preparation meets opportunity I mean I I sought him out and didn’t stop it wasn’t lucky that I got to him it was worth how I got to him so again a lot of people you know saying well that guy’s lucky or that girl’s lucky man come on I know although I’d rather be lucky than good I don’t think luck is a consistent thing rely upon hard work is though are actually smart work again I don’t really work hard I work I work smart but you know when people are starting a business if they can rely on lot good for that but it’s not luck it’s you know and ingenuity and work I think we probably one more question so you the second person in this conference that talked well you haven’t talked about it but you used reinvention to really find your success you started off with a program geared you’re least training program for summits for teaching people items on cars better and you realize you need a better platform which was an offshoot of your original business and that’s really what you’ve developed your bond with as a business owner how do you figure out when it’s time to kind of reinvent your business and how do you decide which I know about because I assumed you had a lot of other options besides saying hey I’m going to develop the most you know the thickness ingenuity and develop this way ahead of its plant platform that nobody else has ever seen you know you could have gone a different way program what made you decide to go that way and how do you know it’s time to look somewhere else to really grow well when I was born I was born in a bucket of common sense like my common sense is like ten times normal of anybody else so the common sense told me to do it I mean when you go out and start trying to train people live and you’re getting paid to do it and it’s not working very well common sense tells you to find a better way you don’t just keep doing it so I built I built the platform for myself just out of necessity just out of common sense I mean this live stuff isn’t giving me the repetition I’m not able to test every one of them I leave and then the people that were half-trained your training new people because they weren’t even hired when I was there so it was just common sense that this live training stuff doesn’t work as well and I need to find the solution so it was just common sense but but to make adjustments I think you need to listen to the data you know there’s a lot of bad advice out there there’s a lot of cliche memes all kinds of things like you know never give up which I understand never give up never stop however sometimes you need to stop and sometimes you need to give up because if I would have do you know try to do the same thing over and over and never gave up I would I would be really out of business and still trying to be whatever if that was I would have been out of business so the cliche I’d never give up men do give up you have to listen to the data watch what’s going on around you you know open your eyes look look and see what’s happening if nobody wants your product it might be it might be data to alter or change your direction your product your presentation your value proposition like change it make adjustments I’m not saying to stop your entrepreneurial dream or give up on the product look at the data and figure out what’s the problem why is why is this happening and then analyze that data use a lot of common sense and just make adjustments one of my five factors to success I call them is the first thing you got to do is take a chance the second thing you have to be is a good problem solver because you’re going to have a lot of problems and the better you are at solving problems the better you are I don’t personally call them problems I like to call them challenges because you know they’re not really problems they’re challenges and I make it more like a game which is a technique I used to you know get through problems without getting discouraged I make it like a game and then you make adjustments the third ones make adjustment fourth ones train your ass off fifth ones never give up so again that never give up gets up there people think it means never stop when that’s not necessarily what it means it means never give up trying to reach your goal but it but it doesn’t mean you know being so myopic that you are missing data that’s coming at you the third one make adjustments it’s funny because I was doing a speech for some chiropractors and you know when I said make adjustments you know they were like pretty much you know that’s perfect for them isn’t it well I think you actually a lot of compasses I want to do all the co-founders and that flex close and it’s actually here exact concept and I want to take away hat from him he’s to focus on solving a problem not a product you’ve created he’s like if you do that you’ll find success and just like you did you were trying to figure out how to solve that problem but you weren’t married to that initial product and I think that’s exactly what your process is is no key you know don’t give up on solving that problem but don’t get married your initial solution or the second solution that’s where I think a lot of business owners and you know people that have that spirit of engine do when you make that mistake it’s whatever the first answer is I think Netflix he said their first idea was the meal VHS tapes and oh they really started they looked at it they’re like well this is the practical then somebody found out you know a CD and they herded up a DVD and he said they mailed themselves a CD and arrived the next day and I’m like okay well maybe now we could do something you know but they went from there the first year 99 percent of sales was from people buying movies and they said well if we’re going to be on my rental we got to kill that you know it was interesting he said it’s reality hits a real hard when you shut down 99 percent your sales in one day just because you’re focused on the thing you want to do but obviously that works for them so I think you know your system that’s really about an important point they’ll focus on solving that problem don’t ever give up on that but don’t be afraid to give up on your solution that you initially came up with if it’s not working that missus means to making assessments on blog Leslie not so much he had agreed three about their meeting actually if you ever had looked it up where they won the first meeting I basically got a lot last out of the room and that was after the they rented Vanna White private jet apparently because of the only way that you get there and they were coming from a retreat and shorts and sandals so they’re like a course we walk in andthere’s twelve corporate lawyers all looking at us like we’re hideous considers two guys in sandals but just LuAnn I’m ban awaits jet but he said they left a meeting and he’s like that’s really too bad if they were gonna have to kick their ass and he’s like a near Chinese leader he’s like look what we’re doing kind of a things yeah I love that story love that’s great well this has been really great blockbuster could purchase that yeah one of them so meeting they’re talking about beneath they offered to sell for fifty million dollars a blockbuster laptop out of the room that was the exact meeting a couple story about it like we went in and we asked for fifty million here like get out of here and he’s like if they don’t need oh man you know so well that’s what I mean but you have to listen to the data I mean blockbuster was so big so cool that they’re not listening to the data they’re not listening to the public they’re not listening to their consumers listen to everything that’s going on that’s the data listen to it and and most importantly put yourself into consumers choose I mean a blockbuster lawyers would have said do I want to be just tape mailed to me do I want to drive down to the store press a button you know the answers are obvious if you’re listening this is all kind actually really great thank you very much for your time I’m sure everyone here get a lot out of it so the people don’t want to keep following you or find out more about your training business probably a lot of business owners would probably like to learn more about that where should we stop well if you want the best training system on earth go to Lightspeed VT comm if you want to follow me you go to the real Bradley that’s Ellie a on any of the social nieces and you know that’s where you find me I’m just messing around putting up videos trying to give up lessons and things to avoid people having to make mistakes I have one meme it’s coming out I believe in Forbes that says it’s not a mean it’s just a quote that I said once it says it’s only lonely at the top if you don’t help anyone else get there so I don’t want to be lonely up there I want to I want to help everybody else get there with me so it’s one big party when we get there.

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Pamela Slim | Small Business Freedom Summit https://smallbusinessfreedomsummit.com/

Small Business Freedom Summit: Pam Slim and Sean Hyde


 

Sean: Okay, thank you for joining us today at the summit. We really appreciate you taking time to share your expertise with all of our viewers. For anyone that’s not familiar with you in your work, would you like to take a minute just to introduce yourself and tell everyone what you’re specializing in and what you’ve been doing?

Pamela: Sure my name is Pamela Slim and I am in Mesa Arizona and I have a small business incubator right on Main Street in Mesa, which is a lot of fun. We opened up in September. I’m an author, a speaker, and a business coach. My main area of interest is really helping to build the capacity of small business owners and those who serve the small business market, so people like myself who are business coaches organizations that serve the small business market and brands who have small business owners as customers.

Sean: Perfect! I know one of the areas you focus on is the community, and building a community around you, and one question I find that comes up and something I ran into with my first business. Small business owners, especially if it’s their first business and the people in their close network and family aren’t investors, aren’t business owners, they don’t sometimes get the support they need. Sometimes you know there’s too much worry about the risk and the time involvement so if you’re a small business owner in that kind of a situation how do you go about finding that community of other business owners or like-minded people that when you’re having that bad day you can go to and say “hey I’m having this problem”, and not worry about your family freaking out, that already doesn’t approve, or you know, find people to bounce ideas off of?

Pamela: Very much. So yeah, I know in Escape From Cubicle Nation, that was my first book, I did a whole chapter around family and friends and how you break into the conversation of looking at specific dynamics because what our family and friends want to do is they want to support us and they want to keep us safe, and very often not for everybody but for some people when you’re setting off to leave your safe corporate job and do something insane like start a business and take on all kinds of risk they feel like they’re doing you a service to say “what are you doing?” “don’t do it, it’s really scary!”. So I think the first principle to think about in community building is that it is across the spectrum. So this the same when you are trying to find ideal customers, which is a very important part of setting out on your own, as it is when you’re trying to find what I call peer mentors, people who might be collaborative, who are on the same journey as you are. If you’re trying to find investors, if you’re trying to find partners, the principle is the same and that is that the first piece is really identifying who it is that you’re excited about serving in your business.

So really who’s the ideal customer? As we know you can have a few different profiles, you could have different customer segments, types of customers, you know different problems that you solve. What you want to look at when you define that is, what is that natural ecosystem around your ideal customer? So where are they going to get information, resources, support for the problem that you’re helping them to solve? And you know when you have a professional services business it’s easier sometimes to think about a problem to be solved. You know like when you’re in a financial conundrum and you need a financial planner, or you don’t know what you want to do with your life and you need a career coach right? You know your business is not doing well and you need somebody to help with marketing but even if you have a product that you’re selling, you know a physical product it is meeting a particular need or a challenge. Maybe you have a beautiful candle that you know people need in order to have a wonderful scent in their home or something.

So as you start to look at what is that ecosystem that surrounds that person, who are they paying attention to? Who are experts they’re listening to? What kind of events or conferences are they attending? What products do they use? What technology do they use? What are maybe the government or nonprofit organizations they might go to for support? Things that we’re familiar with like the Small Business Development Corporation or Small Business Association or SCORE? Or are there a lot of local organizations? You know here in Mesa, I’ve been here since September, I’ve met so many people from the Arts Center that we have who are doing work in support of small business owners. So as you begin to identify these things, there’s this natural ecosystem that already surrounds your ideal customer. And my main premise is, for you to get the support you need, ultimately to deliver the service and solve people who you care solve why not put your energy into building that community right? You can you can get peers and colleagues that share a similar passion for helping those people solve their problem and it’s a very big world. Everybody has a specific role to play, so even though somebody could look like a direct competitor, as you dig into it usually you provide kind of a unique, you know, a unique lens into it. So within the ecosystem, then you start to identify what I call watering holes which are places in-person or online, that have large numbers of ideal customers, peers, partners, prospects. So that could look like where you guys located where’s your what city are you in are you in?

Sean: Charleston West Virginia.

Pamela: How lovely, so I imagine in Charleston that there might be places where business owners congregate everything from the Chamber of Commerce to you go to meetup.com and you might look for you know entrepreneur groups you might participate in online communities which is one of the ways I know a lot of people found me in the early years everything was online from my virtual coaching business and through time and kind of practice and participating in these communities you start to notice the ones that are really high leverage for you. And it really is that one-to-many because when you start, it’s like you calling out for help, like “where are you friends!?!” you know “where are you customers!?!”. It’s very lonely, and people can come one at a time which could not be the pace that we want. Whereas, when you look at it from, you know, what’s the natural ecosystem already around people? Where are they already going? And where are these watering holes where it’s one-to-many and a much quicker way to reach all the people who you want to reach?

Sean: Ok, so let me ask you a question, because it sounds like you’re building a customer avatar or figuring out where they’re hanging out or who they’re connecting with or who they’re reading, and it sounds like a lot of people you’re talking about connecting with will also be potential strategic partners or strategic partnerships, how do we differentiate between someone that we can call up and say “hey I’m having this problem with a client or a vendor and I’m really stressed out”, and a strategic partner? Or are they the same people? And is there a way to draw that line between a business partner and a confidante essentially, if we need both in certain situations?

Pamela: I think people, certain people, can fulfill different roles. But they require a different foundation of values and sometimes a different skillset, and then a different business aptitude in the strategic business focus. So when you look at, to me, somebody who would be an ideal type of, call it a peer mentor right, somebody who’s a confidant or you can go to in order to cry safely to when inevitable challenges happen, we’ve all been there, somebody from my estimation needs to be compassionate they need to be honest and direct so that they can provide positive feedback. It’s really helpful if they can provide feedback in a way that’s actually helpful, which is not saying “oh my god you’re an idiot why did you do that??” That’s usually not very helpful. But can instead say, “I noticed that the last five times that you went out to a sales call on the way when you were talking to me on the phone you kept saying oh my god I’m going to blow it I’m going to blow it I’m going to blow it”, “might your thoughts be something that’s contributing to your lack of effective closure of sales deals”, or something. Right, so somebody who has a good perspective who’s going to give it to you straight but who has empathy and compassion, and to me, it’s also somebody who is willing to do the work themselves. So you’re helping them, there’s reciprocity where when you’re crying on their shoulder, they’re crying on your shoulder and you and they also have a value set that says, as I say frequently, “We all need each other, we’re here to be supporting each other”, and not so much somebody who might say, and there’s nothing wrong with it because we’re all wired differently, but somebody who might say, “it’s a shark tank out there I’m all in it for me it’s really competitive I have to be really careful you know who I share information with”. That’s probably not going to be the best kind of person. Because their values they may hesitate to share different things, because of their worldview. So those are characteristics to me of somebody who could be an excellent confidant. That person could also inhabit the strategic business partner space which means they have, if you look at again, imagine this visual of the core challenge or problem that the person who you want to serve faces in order for them to solve it, they need a whole bunch of stuff, right? Like as wonderful as we think we are, whether it be business strategic, or a great logo, or funding, or whatever, like they need a whole bunch of stuff in order to solve their problem. So a strategic partner is essentially somebody has another puzzle piece. I had somebody I work with for years when I was doing all the escape from cubicle nation coaching, early stage entrepreneurs journey coaching, people leaving corporate jobs to start a business. What does everybody need? First, they need a basic website, something basic in WordPress that looks decent that doesn’t cost a fortune, to begin to hang a shingle for their side hustle. So I had somebody who was in my community who was a great WordPress designer, reasonably priced, did the work great. I probably sent her 50 different leads. In that case, I just do it because I was super happy to do it, there wasn’t like a financial renumeration but there could easily be. There’s somebody who has a piece of the puzzle that is critical for the person who you’re providing it to and by working together, you have higher leverage, that’s where you really have that strategic advantage. I’ve had a lot of cases, I have a lot of colleagues, peers in mind, Charlie Gilkey and Jonathan fields and whole number of people, where we essentially, sometimes have directly competitive programs. We’re both marketing saying retreats or online programs or whatever that are directly competitive. The way we see it, is we understand because we know each other so well, and we’re good friends because we all have that other part. These are people who have both strategic and the compassion that we know where each other’s strengths are. So I can be listening to a client and I’m like “What you kind of need some of Jonathan’s like magic around copywriting and marketing because that’s really his jam”. If you’re looking more for strategic purpose and community building I know that’s me. If you’re looking at systems, and really understanding the operations your business you’re probably better off with Charlie. So that way, even though you might have people who are competitors then you understand how each one if you really has a unique differentiation. So there can be people who have both, strategic fit and compassion, but they’re not the same and you need to sort for and treat each one in a very distinct way, just because we maybe friends and really like each other and our kids play soccer together or we all like to go salsa dancing, which I do love to go salsa and my kid does play soccer. It does not mean that we would have a fantastic business relationship. We have to have very specific conversations about what you bring, what I bring, what our market needs, our values, our business practices in order to make it a beautiful thing.

Sean: I think that’s perfect and actually that brings me to a question that I’ve always had, we read your ads and you built to sell a concept of a mentor that’s way beyond you. It’s always brought up but how to find one how to structure that agreement is almost never brought up. So see that’s what we’re looking for more that person that’s already done the path that’s already had the success it’s way beyond us. Is there a technique for finding that and structuring that relationship so that it works for everybody?

Pamela: You know, I see it as, there’s a philosophy about it and not so much a technique because it’s a very organic thing, no matter what. So one of the philosophical components is that “you have to see it as being your equal, your just a less experienced equal” now everybody feels that way not every expert feels that way. So when you’re finding your right person who’s a mentor, fundamentally I think you both need to see it that way. Somebody will see potential in you, will consider it worthwhile in order to spend time and energy in working with you and you have great respect for that person and what they have achieved and yet you’re not worshiping them. We’re looking for them to take a magic wand and make you famous or make you successful.

I was at a panel years ago at South by Southwest that was blogged to book, so it was people like myself who had written blogs that turn into books. I had Guy Kawasaki who was on the panel as well who I affectionately call my link sugar daddy because he kind of broke my story on the internet if you will when I like on a whim one night shared a blogpost with him, called an open letter to CEOs that I you know I had a tiny audience and he liked it and he shared it on his blog the next day and it just like the skies opened. It was amazing and I appreciate him to this day, he ended up writing the foreword to my book he’s just a totally wonderful person. He said somebody was asking him a very similar question and he said you know people often say that he said speaking for himself that I have the golden touch, you know that? The Midas touch, like what I touch turns to gold, he said actually I only touch gold. So his point is somebody is going to want to mentor you and I make this point in body of work in my own book based on what you have already created, not because all of a sudden they just going to make time in order to teach you everything that they know, and specifically when you look at somebody that you’re choosing who you know because you’ve really studied their work and they’ve done amazing things and they’re teaching certain principles and you know that you’re living those principles, you’re doing that work, you’re shipping, you’re doing all that stuff, you are connecting with your own community and you’re not coming at it from the position of you know being needy and wanting to be made to be ordained. It’s a very touchy thing and to me that that approach that emotional approach it’s almost like a spiritual approach like no matter whatever your spiritual foundation is, it’s coming at it from this perspective of what really is your understanding about what this relationship is and it has to have reciprocity in it, so you always have to be answering what would the benefit be for somebody who does not have much time at all to be spending time with me and to me the best equation is because they get super excited by what it is that you’re building that’s highly in alignment with what they’re doing and what they’re building. I think that’s one piece the other one is where it is very rarely, I see it more as a very organic process, where you just want to be asking for tiny little bits of time so you might spend. It’s really creepy when you think about it because it sounds very much like stalking, but let’s call it strategic marketing analysis, where you might always end up going to events where some of your heroes are speaking or attending and you pay attention to what they write, and you show up, and you’re tweeting to them, and you’re writing a comment on a blog, and you know people in comment and pretty soon they’re like “Who is that person?” like you know that’s kind of interesting you’re everywhere which can be super creepy, so let’s just acknowledge that.

Always wanting to do it with respect not in like I’m not worthy, and I’m just showing up to be a fan, and to not have any of my own pride over what I’m doing because you’re all equal, but that you begin to show a presence and where you are, you are places where they are, and then you’re also paying attention to what is important to them. Do they have a book coming out? That you could help spread the word. Do they have charity things they’re working on? That you could be useful for. So those are ways I think that you can start to slowly build the relationship and just ask for tiny little bits of time. If somebody has five minutes that they have to share, respect that time, thank them, follow-up with a thank-you card, and then just let it kind of let it go, and let it be organic, and keep looking at it again, as if you’re most likely the kind of mentor that you want to choose is somebody who is in your ecosystem. You’re playing a role in serving the same kind of client so you’re happy that they’re there, they get to know you more, and they’re happy that you’re there, and you begin to just really do your work and then it becomes much more natural. I’ve seen approaches and things that like you said that might be like “Do we do a contract? Do we look at how many hours?” I don’t think it’s that way from mentoring, in that way depending on who the person is like sometimes that’s why you pay them in order to get their expertise and that’s a good way to do it and then sometimes those relationships can end up turning into more of a natural ongoing connection. Think about if anybody’s come from corporate, anybody who’s kind of been a mentor you mentor for you over your career, it’s generally because you’ve been through the trenches together, you’ve done great work, you have their back and then that’s where part of that that kind of connection and loyalty starts to develop.

Pamela: Well said in like three seconds as opposed to the 12 minutes that I took to get my explanation I’m going to drink some water after that long explanation.

Pamela: Yeah I think first: pay attention to who already is naturally doing it. You might want to put certain business processes in place where anytime somebody new comes in the door you have a general question you ask. You know, “how did you hear about me?” “is there a specific person who mentioned me or something?” so you can start to track and notice when people are referring others. And very often you’ll probably get emails where somebody’s like “oh you know so-and-so referred me to you and therefore I’m going to talk to you” so you can track that and make sure that’s in your business operations. You can pay attention to it and maybe then have a little bit of data collection where you start to notice people who are doing that. You can have other things like Google Alerts, and begin to pay attention to who might be talking about you and sharing the message or retweeting what it is that you’re sharing on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or whatever.

It’s usually not that hard, it’s usually pretty obvious when you just begin to pay attention to what’s happening on social channels. Who are people who naturally are spreading the word about what it is that you’re doing? It’s not surprising the people who tend to be the biggest fans and advocates are those who you have also really joyfully worked with and who you love to work with. You might notice as you’re working with them that their orientation is more toward being a connector. If you guys read The Tipping Point or any of your viewers read that classic Malcolm Gladwell chapter in The Tipping Point about mavens and salesmen and connectors. Where people might be actually great fans of your work they may love the depth as mavens of what it is that you do but they’re not necessarily going to share it. People who are salespeople can be excited about it and when prompted could make a really great pitch that gets people excited right, but connectors by their nature are people who have a big network who love to connect people with each other who are naturally going to do it whether you ask them or not. And so to me that’s part of how it is that you can start to put certain identification practices in place if you have a professional service organization. You work with people, you really get to know them, and you can notice, you know, they might always be talking about others, or they might be the type of people who are always introducing you to other people. Those are some of the, you know, classic symptoms of having somebody who’s a connector.

So usually there’s enough that’s happening where you can just begin to track and pay attention to who already are your biggest fans and advocates and putting in place things to be, you know, thanking them for that, encouraging reciprocating. One thing I find and because I’m a massive connector, that’s the way I was wired, oh so excited to learn that it’s actually a thing. Once I read tipping point and actually there’s another great book a former client Erica Dhawan wrote a book called Get Big Things Done the power of connectional intelligence and so it takes connector and it like expands it on this really cool level of looking at different types of connectors, she argues which I think is a great argument that we have IQ, we have EQ, emotional intelligence and now we need connectional intelligence in today’s world. So understanding different types of connectors which can be super helpful but doing things like mentioning other people that you work with. How many that was? because I just did that, notice that? It wasn’t really to illustrate a point but like I can’t help but do it because that’s the way that when you’re constantly promoting other people’s work, when you get excited about what people are doing and you’re sharing, it creates that feeling of reciprocity, it makes people want to share versus if you have more of an empire and all of your communication for your company is all about and then “We did this and then we’re so cool and we won this award and we’re so awesome.” it doesn’t engender so much of a feeling of reciprocity. That’s a judgment, that’s my values, clearly it works for some people, truly it really does. Know who you are but if you really do like to have more of that shared success value you know where you want to have more of these partners as opposed to competitors because not everybody does and that’s okay right there’s a lot of super successful people out there that are just much more competitive and that’s the way they see the world and that’s okay. When you start to talk about building a community, the one thing I’ll say that’s very common is people interchange like having a bunch of fans on Facebook or having a big email list with a community. Different things, a community is actually a group of people that are really you know connected by shared values and shared purpose with reciprocity and mutual benefit and mutual respect, not just a volume of people who think you’re really cool.

Sean: Okay so I think we have time for one more question, I think that leads into it really well. In most communities there’s almost unlimited opportunity to connect with people in real time, obviously the loaded amount of time. How do we decide where to put our energy between networking events, coaching, Little League, connecting with that, you know, again there are so many things. If we’re a busy business owner and we have a limited amount of time, how do we decide where to focus, where to put that time and energy to make the most out of these connections in our community?

Pamela: So the first is if you do have like a specific business purpose where part of what you’re trying to do is to, you know, build a community around surveying your core customer which really helps your business, then you want to have a clear sense for your ideal customers and there might be a number of different profiles. How do they communicate? What do they do? Are they just people who are totally, you know, working from home in their home office that never go out. Are they people who are constantly at conferences? Are they on LinkedIn? So you want to look at what are the communication and marketing vehicles that those people are using already and then within that when you’re doing some of the testing and trying, you can go into an experiment, where you might go to a certain conference or you go to a meetup group. I love running experiments and challenges, it’s my favorite thing so it makes it a little bit more fun as opposed to just thinking like “Oh yeah I went to ten events and like they were all awful on not finding out anything”. If you go in setting a hypothesis, so this month I have a hypothesis based on my research that this group I found in meetup, in this conference and this coffee shop in my local Main Street is a place that I’m going to meet ideal people and this is why I have a hypothesis and I’m going to go out and test it and really see. Do I feel like they’re my people? Or there is it a, you know, interesting group, does it look like it’s good or not and you can have those experiences and just track a little bit of notes. “Was it as I thought?” and if not “Why not?” so you’re looking at it from a lens with a little bit more discipline and then from there you can start to notice where might be the best places to spend your time. So there’s a period of just experimentation because you never know something can sound great it’s kind of like you know it’s been a long time since I’ve dated, thank God I love my husband, married a long time, but right remembering those days, it’s like the difference between an online dating profile and meeting somebody in real life, sometimes radically different. Hopefully it’s not too radical for those of you who are still dating, so you need to actually go in those environments and meet the people to really know if that’s a good place for you to spend time or not so take a little bit of time dating and then you start to get your serious commitments and I like to zoom in where you’re like “Okay I know that I’m going to two conferences a year and these are the ones because these are the places where I find all of my ideal folks” one of my dear friends here Susan buyer who does a lot of audience research she goes to like four conferences a year for digital marketing agencies that are that’s her target client base and she gets all the work she needs all year by going to those four conferences that’s everybody who needs her services is all there in one place but that’s after doing a lot of experimentation and testing and trying.

Sean: I thought we met her because I got about six of those a year and we are a digital marketing agency so that’s funny. Yeah, so it’s more business. Well, I think we’re pretty much out of time but thank you for everything. It was just great information.

Pamela: Thank you! Thanks for having me.

Sean: I mean even for me in particular you answered one of my question that was great like I got a lot of information so thank you very much. For anyone that’s watching that wants to follow up with you, learn more about your programs, or how they can stay involved with you what’s the best way for them to reach out?

Pamela: So you can go to Pamelaslim.com my main site and that’s where all my social connections are. We have a contact page so anybody who wants to send an email, I’m totally happy to receive it and get back to you.

Sean: Perfect! Well, thank you very much for the great content and all the great information.

Pamela: Sounds awesome! I’m actually writing a book on this topic so you got me at a good time!

Sean: Okay well everyone can follow you and they can keep up with you that way so it’ll be perfect.

Pamela: Thank you guys!

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Business Growth Through Re-invention and Smart Business Practices: With Nadya Zhexembayeva and Sean Hyde

Business Growth Through Re-invention and Smart Business Practices: With Nadya Zhexembayeva and Sean Hyde

Interview Summary:

Business is moving faster than ever.  If you want to thrive in the modern business environment you need to adapt more quickly and more effectively than ever before.
Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva, author of  Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World and Embedded Sustainability: The Next Big Competitive Advantage and owner of chiefreinventionofficer.com joins us to discuss effective strategies for smarter operations and business growth in the modern world.

 


Sean Hyde: Okay so thank you for joining us today. For anyone in the audience that’s not familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you’ve been doing and what you’re going to talk to us about today?

Nadya: Sure. My name is Nadya Zhexembayeva. You don’t need to worry about my last name. My daughter is 13 and she still doesn’t pronounce it. She tries to stay away from it. I am a recovering academic, like any addiction you never quite recover. You keep going back to teaching or to the research. I was a professor of strategy and change until about mid-2000s when one of my students, because I taught only in executive education so only to practicing managers, one of my students said, “Well all of this sounds great and interesting but I don’t think that actually works in life. Would you walk the talk and join the company for projects?” I founded a re-invention agency, which celebrates 10 years this year in June.

What we do is we help companies deal with the weight of change by reinventing their products, services, sometimes their processes, sometimes their entire business model. It really is on a client by client basis. I also write books, I have one daughter and one cat and one wonderful husband. I live in Ohio.

Sean Hyde: All right so let’s talk about reinvention since you brought that up first if you want to start there. Larger companies obviously probably have departments and marketing firms and they can help a little bit with that and research and strategy. If we’re talking to a medium-sized or a small business owner that’s maybe a little overwhelmed and they realize they have to adapt, you know they’re watching the big box stores and these bigger companies come in but where do they start? They probably don’t have that kind of help and maybe they don’t have that insight. If I’m accepting the fact that yeah I do need to change regularly and I do need to adapt, how do I figure out where that change starts and what that looks like?

Nadya: I will tell you a little bit of research and philosophy behind it and there will be good news in the middle of it, which is small and medium business. I am a small-medium business owner depending on which company in the portfolio. Small and medium businesses are actually more ready and more how do you say, they are more open or probably more equipped to deal with change than big companies. I mainly work with big companies and every time I work back with a small business, I am impressed with how easy this project goes because the reality is that big business is like a Titanic. It’s very hard to move around an iceberg and you end up crashing into it. Even the best of the best, if you think about Kodak that owned about 98% of film market or Nokia that owned about 40% of telecom business. If those two companies and many, many others were crashing in a matter of less than two years. You can imagine that for a big company it’s really hard to turn around.

For a small business, the issue is mindset. The issue is staying in tune with the reality that this is the new business as usual. What I mean by that is that when we grew up in the 20th century, well I’ll say when I grew up in the 20th century, that’s my real age right there. The reality was very stable so the business, even though there were some ups and downs, sometimes we would face a crisis like the ’70s oil crisis but generally speaking, the reality was very, very smooth. And the transitions and the re-inventions, generally speaking, did not happen very often.

For example for a fax machine, the fax technology did not change for 150 years until it became mass produced. Compare that to Facebook that is updating itself every few years, now every year or Apple or anything else that is happening now. The main thing is to realize that you have to update yourself on average between two and five years, every two and five years. That’s the number one is to be very, very attuned to when is it time and the signs are either your customers are asking for something new, or you are seeing a slight movement in the revenues or increase in the costs. You have some signal inside your business that it’s time. I know for my business it’s been very consistent about every three years. We have to either put a new approach to, for example, this year we’re going digital or we need to come up with a new product or something that gives it a boost.
Then where do you start? You start by realizing what are your strengths, what is it that you’re not interested in changing or you don’t think should be changed? Many of us think of strengths as something like positive movement and let’s all meditate and have yoga practices and we’ll all find it. Not like that. You go back to very basic. You look around to your business model, whether it can be a product, that could be your strength. Sometimes it’s not the product, sometimes it’s a unique skill. Maybe you have a couple of employees or yourself, who have something very unique to offer and you can package it differently.

Vision without action is a hallucination. Until it’s in your schedule, you’re hallucinating.

I often tell a story, I lived in New York for 10 years and I met this amazing company that was in a tiny community up in the mountains, that was almost out of business. They were producing and installing heating and cooling equipment and the entire city was dependent on them. In 2004 they said, “Okay we have to do something or the whole city will die because we’re losing business to Chinese and to the high-branded West so we have to do something.” They looked around and they had small teams, two, three people, a couple of teams looking around at all of their parts of the business and one of the teams said, “Well, one thing we do very well is electric motors because inside the heating and cooling system is an electric motor. Can we sell that skill to somebody else?”

In 2005, they introduced their first automotive part because the automotive sector was in desperate need of knowledge of electric motors. And today they supply to every single major brand you can imagine so if you take BMW, Audi, Renault, Ford, all of them now have their parts. You start by realizing what do I do great and where can I apply that in a new and different way.

Sean Hyde: That’s great so that’s like an internal way to look at it. Do you find any value in maybe asking your customers what they want on a regular basis? Maybe survey customers, do you ask them questions so from the customer’s side you can see.

Nadya: Absolutely. The trick here is that if you ask the customer what they want, they will give you either very generic answer or an answer that is actually not true. It’s not that they’re lying to you, they’re not. Just they were caught off guard and they’re trying to make something very intelligent and smart. A much better source of information is actually visiting your customer in real life to see what’s going on. If you have a chance to, instead of asking, “What do you need?”  ask them, “What’s going on, how’s the business going, what’s new? Where do you think it’s going in the future?” You will notice things that they probably don’t yet realize are relevant for you.

Maybe they are moving their product to a different format and you might be able to offer something around it. Maybe they are thinking of opening a new location and you might be able to deal with that. Maybe something else is going on in their organization and their processes and you can offer something there but if you just ask them, “What do you want?” They will start making up stuff and many of them also cannot imagine what is that that you have to offer. Steve Jobs was famous for saying that, “People didn’t think they need iPad. They couldn’t even imagine that product.” If you asked them, “Do you need an iPad?” or “What do you need?” they would not generate an idea for an iPad because they simply don’t recognize that there is a latent need there.

I often travel to my customers. I try to sit in on their meetings if they let me. I try to sit in coffee shops. I love toilets and coolers because this is where you really hear what’s going on so I show up and very quietly listen to what’s going on and then you have ideas, you have these new things that come to your mind. “How about we do this?” And you get insight that is probably more precise. Another source of information is also suppliers or customers of your customers. We often not realize how interconnected we all are so this is let’s say the supply chain and there is supplier’s supplier and this is one of you and then your customer and then your customer’s customer’s customer.
Sometimes a trigger here can change for all of them but we don’t recognize it on time, so having a chance and you don’t need to be religious about it. As long as you have reminders in your phone every quarter, it’s time to check in with somebody outside of my shell. That’s about it. Put a reminder in. I always say, “I will do it.” Until it’s in my schedule, it’s vision without action is a hallucination. Until it’s in your schedule, you’re hallucinating.

Sean Hyde: Yeah that’s absolutely true. I think there’s an old Tony Robbins quote he’s like, “You can sit around thinking good thoughts all day and eventually people will show up to take your furniture.”

Nadya: Absolutely. That’s a wonderful dream, I mean you are daydreaming, great but until it’s your schedule. You literally just as you’re listening to it, pull out the phone, put a reminder in three months. I need to check in with someone outside of the shell. That’s it, that’s all you need to do is just have to have … And when you get that beep in September, you will be like, “What is this? I don’t even remember what this is.” You will take a little bit of time to remember and then you will realize there is a different pattern when you start getting outside of your comfort zone.

Sean Hyde: That’s great, maybe it becomes a habit actually.

Nadya: Yeah I hope so.

Sean Hyde: Okay so I know another big thing you’re working with is sustainability and how that helps businesses and helps growth. From a small business, kind of similar question. I’d imagine real estate companies are seeing the prices of their commodities go up, food, businesses, small margins. If I’m that small business and I’m caught up and yeah my costs are going up but I have no idea how to address how a sustainability model might help that, where would I start with that? Where’s the first place I might look at? Where do I come up with some ideas?

That’s where sustainability starts. It starts with guarding resources, and then later, by producing even more innovative solutions that you have ever imagined.

Nadya: The first place to look is always cost saving so my mantra around sustainability is pretty straightforward. Many times we think about sustainability and different associations come to mind. Save the whale and climate change, that kind of policies. All of those are important unless you start catching yourself and you realize okay, how does that translate to my direct existence and then suddenly sustainability becomes very different. What is happening with sustainability is we need to peel it back to the reality of sustainability. Yeah, ability to sustain and the ability to sustain in your business might be very different than the ability to sustain in my business but the first place to start is always low hanging fruit around cost savings.

If you take a very intelligent look around you, processes around you, offices around you, you will notice places where you are wasting resources. You’re wasting resources naturally just because this is just the way you did business. I will give you an example. We were working with a very small factory in Ohio and their latest shift, their evening shift, night shift was working at the far end of this big, not big, barn looking production factory. And because the shift was working at the end, they have to light the whole barn for the whole time, for them to be safe to work there and back. Just move around locations and you will save a huge amount of money on electricity bill. That’s what I mean start with costs. See where you’re wasting costs.

Another question I ask when I’m speaking to the audience, “How many of you spend 100% of your time at your workplace?” Nobody says, “I do.” It’s about 90. Then you ask the majority and the majority today spend somewhere around 50, 60% unless you are customer facing so you are spending it in front of a customer. And then you’re spending most of the time there but the reality is most of us still think that every employee needs to have a desk, needs to have a location. Every employee needs to be in a prescribed cubicle and for that, you’re still paying real estate costs, heating and cooling, everything you can imagine around it. So do you really need that many offices, that much space if nobody is really sitting? Or is there a way of organizing your office that is smaller, probably doesn’t require as many resources in terms of saving on heating and cooling and by the way CO2 emissions.

I know this is a very heated conversation. If you’re not interested in saving CO2 emissions, it may not be what drives you. It starts with energy efficiency, I’m sure you’re interested in energy efficiency. What’s happening now is that sustainability stop being the enemy of business and actually is becoming a huge driver of innovation in business because customers are demanding to see what’s happening with you. But also your suppliers and your cost structure are demanding that you begin to think about okay, what’s happening with the resource base? What’s happening with supplies? Why is my supplier giving me higher prices year after year? The answer is, is because we’re running out of resources. You like it or not, most resources that really needed in the work today, are running out and the ones that are not needed, are also creating economic devastation.

Being in your state you know very well what happens when nobody needs coal. It’s the same for my country I was born in Kazakhstan. We have some resources that companies really truly need. Then we have others that are getting a huge crash of prices and we have coal regions that are dying. The reality is it’s not a one-time event. We are looking at a major restructuring of an economy. We need to adapt to that before it crashes. We need to ride those waves before they completely overwhelm that so sustainability starts with basics, which is where do I waste resources today when I’m being resource dumb? Let me put it that way.

Then often it’s breakthrough innovation comes from that question so I will give you an example. My favorite story of all time on the dumb resource waste is the idea of shampoo. There is a wonderful company originally from the UK, also a small and medium business, that was producing regular shampoo but one day they were looking at their books. Of course, their costs are creeping up and they kind of question around what is the value that they’re delivering when they’re selling shampoo when they talk to their customers? The value is very simple, it’s clean hair. But what is one resource that is always available onsite, to produce the result, which is clean hair, and therefore, it’s absolutely unnecessary for the success of shampoo? It’s water. You cannot have a clean head without water inside but we pump water, clean water(when we wash our hair).

We produce plastic bottles with bottled water. We transport water, we shelf water, we sell water where water is completely unnecessary. They played around and developed a dry shampoo, a very successful product. My baby brother whenever he comes to … He’s not a baby, he’s 30, he’s very tall but he is my baby brother so when he comes to visit me he says, “No dry shampoo for me.” but he’s the only one I know who has that reaction. It works wonderful, it has essential oils. It does everything it does and the company is privately owned so they don’t release their financials, they don’t share how much they’re saving but on transportation costs they did release the data.

The transportation cost fell 15 times per wash…so, sometimes it’s just small things, sometimes it’s massive things like this. What is a part of our value proposition that is actually unnecessary? We’re doing it because we’ve done this like this for the last 10 years or we’ve always done it like this or we’re doing it because there’s a custom or we’re doing it for some other reason. It might be packaging, it might be the way you organize your warehouse. It might be your office, it might be your supplies. What is unnecessary? It might be your time. You might be spending some of your time unnecessarily. That’s where sustainability starts, it starts with guarding the resources and then later, by producing even more innovative solutions that you have ever imagined.

By the way, let’s not shy away from the issue. If you don’t have financial sustainability, you do not have sustainability period, it’s very simple.

Sean Hyde: Do you find a lot of people who have difficulty seeing that? Is it useful bringing an outside eye so to speak, sometimes, or do you feel like you can sit back and be realistic about are we doing things out of habit? Can we even notice how we’re wasting time and space if we’ve been doing this so long?

Nadya: Absolutely. There are many different ways you can bring in an external person. The first thing people think about is a consultant and if you’re really tight on budget and it’s a difficult thing for you, you can imagine different things. For example, events like this is a place where you grab somebody for a coffee and ask them, “Can you give me some advice or what would be your take on this?” I sometimes bring my friends from college from completely different professions. For example, when I have a project on metalology, I bring biologists or physicists or medical professionals because they are smart people but they have no sure, they have not been like this, horses that are protected, right?

They ask what they think are dumb questions and for me it’s like, yeah we assumed too many things and because they ask basic questions, all the assumptions come out. And suddenly you see the famous saying, “The assumptions are the mother of all … ” I don’t want to cuss on TV, a mother of all (cough) in the world. You suddenly see a lot of assumptions coming out because you bring somebody. If you have a friend who is in a different profession, just spend 10 minutes structurally presenting the situation. “This is what I’m doing right now, this is my challenge.” and let them reflect on what they’re noticing, ask them questions or they ask you questions or they tell you back what they’re seeing. You might be surprised what you might get and of course all kind of events and associations and networks.

This is a place to see a different side of a story. Your first reaction will be very different, that’s normal don’t worry about it. We even do exercises where we put business owners with their back to the group as they’re discussing the business on their problem. Because the business on there always wants to jump and explain how this opinion is already been there, tried that or this opinion is not going to work. It’s a very difficult job for them to just sit and listen but when you sit and listen you digest the ideas and it’s not that you hear an answer from what you were listening to. You are stimulated from a different point of view and you yourself see something new. Not necessarily somebody will come and fix it for you, but they will bring a different perspective that will unhinge something in this kind of situation of yours.

Sean Hyde: That’s great. I do want to go back to something you mentioned before, with how CO2 emissions is a conversation, sustainability is a conversation. As a brand, as a business owner, do you find that there’s a benefit once they figure that out to say, “Hey we are doing this, we’re conserving. Not only did we make some smart business decisions but we’re conserving water, we’re conserving resources, we’re conserving energy or time.” or is that because it’s an issue is that a double edge sword?

Nadya: Well it’s really a personal conversation for every business but what is the trend on the market happening today? I’m the first to say we are guilty why this is happening. Even In my latest book I wrote a chapter on green is dead and how I personally contributed to the demise of the green as a scientist who wrote about it for many years. I think we’ve done, generally speaking, a very bad job communicating the essence of what sustainability is about and also the word itself has a fundamental problem. In terms of it’s hard to use it as an inspiring word. You might have a heard me already said it but if you think of, let’s say you had a wonderful dinner on Friday night and you exit from the restaurant and you bump into a neighbor of yours that used to live nearby, now moved away and you haven’t seen them for a couple of years and you are catching up. “How’s life? How’s Jeff? How’s your marriage?” “Sustainable.”

The word just it doesn’t have that amazing feeling like you don’t want your marriage to be just sustainable hopefully. You want it to be amazing, great, exciting, something through the roof and you don’t want your business to just be sustainable, you want it to be amazing, exciting, thriving and so on. The word has a problem and we have communicated in a way that we abused it to the point that it became meaning everything and nothing at all. In that sense, what we’re seeing is that our customers are getting tired of this because sustainable became to me, now every time I ask an audience, “When you think about a green product or sustainable product or sustainable shoes, what do you expect?”

“Number one, it will be overpriced. Number two, it will be underperforming and number three, generally speaking, it will be ugly.” The normal apple is a beautiful apple, sustainable apple. It’s like little organic thing falling over there. Yeah, and normal shoes will be beautiful designer shoes and sustainable eco shoes will be this rubber type of thing that hippies where. Maybe that’s not correct. It’s not about whether it is reflecting the reality, it’s the perception and perception is very important. We have done this. I’m not saying that this is something…objectively correct and so on. We have created this on the market and so what is business doing now to deal with it?

The business is putting out a different brand around sustainability. Instead of speaking about green, they’re speaking about smart so you can see a lot of products talking about them being clever or being smart or business sense. Because this is basic smartness, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot. You don’t want to destroy your entire supply chain and then you are out of business. That’s just being smart. You don’t want to waste product or package on the thing that is zero value and tons of waste, tons of pollution and tons of CO2 emissions, it’s just basic smart and tons of money as well. By the way, let’s not shy away from the issue. If you don’t have financial sustainability, you do not have sustainability period, it’s very simple.

But the delay is how do we find the time, the right time to introduce each thing because let’s say if you go and force a sustainable solution that doesn’t have economics today. You will kill your company because your costs will be higher than your revenues. But if you don’t introduce that sustainable solutions where the whole world already moved in that direction, you will be out of business because your business competition will kill you. You are stuck between this very sensitive time. On your time horizon you need to find a place, where’s a time to start moving to the next best thing? That again goes back to know your customers, know your supply chain, know yourself, where are you wasting things.

Start practicing with your own resourcefulness and smart sustainable solutions, and then when you do that, it is much easier to present it to the customers because they don’t think of it as a greenwashing. It’s a very simple, straightforward, clear thing you’re doing. You’re being smart for yourself, you’re being smart for them and yes, part of that, there’s a financial benefit and environmental, social every kind of benefit so there’s no reason to hide it in any way. Just tweak your position a little bit towards smart and kind. We’re using a lot of different words now that are a little bit less polluted as equal or sustainable or green.

Sean Hyde: Smart so any company perception, your personality that’s important so you’re trying to make it fit. We have time for one more question so if we’re worried about adapting, if you’re worried about sustainability, what’s that one big thing you think any company needs to keep their eye on right now? Obviously, the internet has opened up all sorts of changes where much smaller and bigger all at the same time now. You talked about going digital where digital marketing we can even see so we know how quickly that part changes but the whole world and how it communicates changes. If you’re a business owner right now, what’s the one thing you think pretty much every business needs to keep their eye on going forward?

Nadya: It’s hard to say one thing because it depends on each individual business. If you are in production, I would seriously think about water. Water is the new oil and many states like your state, are not yet experiencing the water shortage like California does or Arizona does but what I was thinking will be in, water is becoming a fundamental cost in the business and it will continue to transform in a way you cannot predict because the weather patterns. How crazy is this season? The weather pattern means that our access to even underground water is changing rapidly and we don’t have enough understanding of where will we have shortage and where we will have …

If you can’t start prepare new business, if you’re in production, smart is less and less water use and more and smarter water use. Collecting gray water so the rain. Reusing the water of the washing your hands into the toilet, stuff like that. If you start thinking in that direction you will be prepared for challenges that are just about on the horizon right now. In service industry I think the biggest issue that we’re facing today is the clash of generations. You think you understand your customers, your customers in two years will be completely different than today because their mindset is fundamentally different.

Many customers of young generation do not want to own anything. Remember our parents after the war and the grandparents after the war? Ownership was, “I made it in life, this is what American dream is about.” Today not ownership is the coolest thing. If you can just not own anything, that means that the thing doesn’t own you so in that sense you’re positioning your ads, your offer about the old customer is almost laughable for the new customer and they’re coming up very quickly, so quickly. In a matter of two to three years, what is your base, can change fundamentally and the same of course is happening in politics, you can see that already in next election the actual majority will just be over age 18. So that generation is taking over and their expectations of what you are to offer, is very, very different.

This is the challenge right now is to understand how you’re going to manage the transition because your old customers are still alive and they need you. And then there’s new customers who want something completely different. They don’t want to own. They are into sharing so they can use the element of your service but not own anything and be responsible for insurance and things and the whole thing. To the point that there’s a wonderful company exceptionally successful in Amsterdam right now that leases jeans. You thought about Uber being new? There are companies now that doing Uber model for jeans and the interesting thing, you don’t actually use second-hand jeans. It’s not like it’s a second-hand shop. It is a method of bringing the customer back and bringing the raw material back because the hardest thing is to collect the raw material. That where you spend most of the money is the collection.

Just as the pollution network is very expensive, collection network for your raw material base and that’s a competition for fast fashion. Instead of selling $100 or $50 jeans, you can sell $5 per month and then get it back and recycle it again and use it again. This is fundamentally different things we don’t even fully understand how our younger generation thinks. My daughter, we all on email right? You got in touch with me through email, I love my email. My daughter is 13, she’s been on every kind of device for the last five, six years. She doesn’t use email, she doesn’t understand why you would need email. She gets her information, she knows when she needs to do. She’s very busy, she has many activities. She gets messages, she gets the information transfer happens, it just doesn’t happen through email.

She loves all these cloud sources. She’s on Google Drive and Google Doc but she’s not on email. This is the fundamentally different patterns of behavior and if you’re in services I would pay attention to what’s the next generation’s need.

Sean Hyde: Thank you very much. That was a lot of great information, thank you. It was a great interview. If our viewers want to keep up with you, obviously you have a couple of books out. Where would you like them to reach out to you?

Nadya: Yeah the easiest is I started a new platform chiefreinventionofficer.com. We’re also on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter wherever. It is a free resource base. Starting in January we’re putting out a YouTube channel so one new video per week with some nugget, something that will be triggering you towards reinvention. My position is every single one of us needs to become a chief reinvention officer in our own right. If we get that right we will figure out how to fix our companies, how to fix the economy, how to fix our community. If we start with our own lives and learn how to reinvent, again and again, I’m sure we will survive whatever life throws at us.

Sean Hyde: It’s all about adaptation right? That’s a human condition I guess.

Nadya: Thank you it’s a pleasure to connect and have an amazing conference and good luck to everyone. It’s a tough time but it’s also a very exciting time. Let’s take the [inaudible 00:30:25] out of it. Bye.

Sean Hyde: Bye.

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Facebook Ads with a small budget: How to be effective

FACEBOOK ADS WITH A SMALL BUDGET: HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE

Small Budget Facebook Campaigns:  How to Make them Work for you

Reasons you might start Facebook Ads with a small budget:

You are new to Facebook ads and want to make sure you can create results before investing a significant amount of money.

You aren’t sure Facebook ads will work for your business, or work at all for that matter.

You want to try many variations of creative, messaging, and audience targeting without spending a ton of money.

You only have a small budget and need to create additional income that you can reinvest with as little risk as possible.

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The best strategies for getting started in Facebook Ads with a smaller budget:

Use ads or posts that are already social proofed:

Start with social proofed or engaging ads:  A “social proofed” post or ad on Facebook is one that already has many likes, comments, shares and engagements.  If you turn a popular post into an ad, the “social proof” of likes, shares, comments etc. will tell the Facebook algorithm that the post is engaging and something people want to see, leading to lower advertising costs.  Don’t forget Facebook first and foremost is a content platform, so they don’t want to serve advertising that people see as annoying and give them reasons to leave their platform.  This is the same reason “organic” looking ads also tend to perform better. In most cases, a real picture, even a really bad picture, will outperform a stock photo or professionally designed ad.

People are on social media looking for information about friends and people they know, so any interesting image that looks more like a post than an ad will grab their attention faster.  The more (positive) attention your ad gets, the less expensive your ad will be, and in most cases, the more effective it will be as well.

Optimize one step at a time:

If you are optimizing your ad for an action or event, like say a purchase, or a sign-up, many times optimizing for the first step in the process will get you better results on a smaller budget.  This is because the Facebook pixel usually needs about 25 events in a week to optimize.

So if you are selling a $500 product, that costs $50 per sale in advertising costs, and you don’t have the ability to spend $1500 a week, the pixel will never complete the optimization process.  However, if a click on your ad is $2.00 and you can spend $50 per week, then you can get that first step optimized.

Then you can move the goal to landing page views, which will now be cheaper because you’ve already optimized for clicks, so Facebook knows what kind of people are at least interested enough in your product to click your ad.  Once you get 25 landing page views in a week, you can now move to optimizing for ad to carts, and so and on so forth.  This will get you optimized for your ultimate goal little by little, without demanding a significant upfront investment, and consequently, significant upfront risk.

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Don’t fall in love with Lead ads:

A lot of new advertisers on Facebook fall into the lead ads trap.  Lead ads have their place in some campaigns but have serious problems with lead quality.

Because Facebook has made it so easy for someone to sign up for a lead ad, the leads are cheap and the ads on paper seem very effective.  The problem comes when you follow up with the lead and they don’t even remember signing up for your offer because it literally took 2 seconds and was 1 of 1500 things they did online that day.

The great numbers tempt many small budget and new advertisers to throw a lot of money at this form of ad quickly, only to realize that the amazing numbers of leads they have acquired have significantly less than amazing potential to become actual customers.

Prioritize results and ROI, not analytics and vanity metrics:

Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/Before you start any digital marketing campaign, Facebook or otherwise, you should determine the value of a customer.  The true value of a customer, not just the value of their initial purchase, but their lifetime value, likely upset purchase values etc.  If you do this first, you know how much you can spend to acquire a new customer and stay profitable, and when it comes down to it, that’s the only number that matters.

Cost per click, relevancy score, conversion rates, etc. are all great indicators, but none of them matter more than your bottom line.  I’ve seen campaigns with terrible conversion rates create tons of income for clients, and I’ve seen campaigns with great numbers in analytics never create enough income to justify the campaign cost.  Use indicators for what they are, indicators of where you can improve, and the health of your campaign, but don’t live or die by them, and even worse, don’t fall in love with them.  Also, take time to determine which ones you will use as KPI’s before you start the campaign.  Don’t fall into the trap of, “oh the conversion rate is terrible, but we are getting tons of page likes so it’s ok” even though conversions is what really mattered.  It’s easy to talk yourself into thinking you are doing the right thing when you didn’t define what the right thing is ahead of time.

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Scale Your Facebook Ads Slowly:

If you get a home-run ad campaign it’s easy to want to throw all of your money behind it and magnify the results quickly and dramatically, but unfortunately, this can literally break your campaign.  Now as with all Facebook algorithm “rules” this one is worth testing because some people find dramatically increasing their campaign spend works just fine, but for the majority of advertisers, especially the smaller budget ones, taking your budget from $5 a day to $500 a day in a week will essentially reset your campaign, and consequently your results.

Like everything else on Facebook, that’s a theory worth testing for your particular situation but maybe wait for that until you aren’t playing with a small budget.

Pay Attention to FB Ad congruency:

Another thing that will keep your ad costs lower and your ad effectiveness strong is to make sure you pay attention to congruency across the entire campaign.  If you are advertising to lawyers, and targeting lawyers, mentioning lawyers in your ad copy, and talking about lawyers on the landing page you send the prospect to will make the Facebook algorithm happy, and will keep your prospect from getting confused as they go through the different steps of your campaign.

Other things to consider to keep your ad costs low:

Use retargeting ads:  Facebook retargeting ads allow you to run a broad ad in front, and then lower budget and more effective ads to a more defined audience on the back end, bringing your average cost per ad down.

Keep your ad account in good standing:  Missing payments, violating Facebook policies, and trying to advertise products Facebook doesn’t like or in a way they don’t like are all good ways to lower your advertiser rating and increase your Facebook Ads cost.

Try out Facebook’s newest offering:  Facebook is always adding new advertising options and tools, and they usually favor the adventurous by giving very low ad costs on these new ad types.  You might get burned by an ineffective new ad style, but you also might trip into a pot of gold with something that converts at pennies on the dollar, so it’s usually worth testing out.

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