Outsmart Them. Don’t Outspend Them.

So, you’re thousands of dollars down. You’ve paid top dollar to a reputed ad agency and yet you feel like you’re sitting in a casino playing roulette and seeing everyone else at the table winning. What could have possibly gone wrong?

There are two ways to approach this challenge: blame it on luck, just like an amateur gambler would, or find out the root cause and ensure that your advertising money is working hard for you and getting you the best returns. In a nutshell — you don’t need to outspend your competition, just outsmart ’em.

How do you ensure success when your competition spends marketing dollars like there’s no tomorrow? No matter how deep an organization’s pockets are, the most priceless asset for a brand is the content and messaging that defines it.

Search engine optimization is the name of the game. Every time a potential user searches for you online and finds your competition, you lose a customer, potential revenue, and brand equity. This can be avoided by being true to your brand and the content on your website. SEO isn’t a dark art; it’s simply a way to reinforce your messaging, communicate your product features effectively, and create relevant content that helps customers understand what your brand and product is all about.

A lot of agencies will talk about stuffing your website with keywords. When you hear keyword stuffing, take your bags and run in the opposite direction, because that agency doesn’t believe in your brand, doesn’t believe in research, and definitely doesn’t believe in winning the hearts and minds of customers.

For optimizing your website and increasing traffic without paying top dollar, it’s important to first create content relevant to the brand and the products offered. Maintain clear messaging and make it easier for the users to find the products and features offered. This step is unfortunately skipped by a lot of organizations as they try to make their website “cutting edge.”

Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that content is king. By using the principle of clear messaging, a digital marketing agency can fight a grizzly bear with a toothpick and win. Another important principle to be followed is to add nothing but relevant keywords once the web content has been created. The natural question is: how do you decide which keywords to use?

Option 1: Flip a coin

Option 2: Use digital analytics tools to research and find high volume branded and product-relevant keywords that can be integrated in the web content.

The operative word is “integrated” and not “stuffed.” Let’s assume that the digital marketer choses Option 2 (the sane choice). The immediate result is a website that is primed to succeed in time. Compared to truckloads of marketing dollars spent on creating new campaigns and fancy websites, adherence to the fundamentals mentioned above (and a pinch of common sense) can better set you up for success and return on investment.

At Columbia Marketing Group, we believe in the KISS principle — keep it simple, stupid. We specialize in multiple digital technologies including Facebook, Google, dynamic OTT, weather forecasted marketing automation, geofencingweb development & hosting, and email marketing, to name a few. But we always adhere to marketing fundamentals and create marketing strategies that set our clients up for success — not for a month, not for a quarter, but for years.

To Boost or Not To Boost on Facebook

How to get results from boosting your company’s Facebook posts.

A boosted Facebook post can gain more interactions, such as comments, reactions, and shares, with your organic content already on your page. Boosting your content will reach potential customers that don’t already follow your business with content that they would see daily from your page.

Advantages of Boosting on Facebook

  • Simplicity: Facebook makes boosting posts as easy as it is to create them. You’ll simply go to a post on your page and click the “Boost Post” button. After a couple of questions, your post will be in front of hundreds of potential new customers. With boosting, you don’t have to create more content for Facebook  advertisements — you use what already works with your original audience. 
  • Customizable: When boosting your post, Facebook will have you define your targeted audience and location. If you want more engagements on your posts, you could set your audience as just the people that like your page. If you want to increase your brand awareness, you could set your audience to a custom demographic in your specified location. If your company wants a mix of more engagement and brand awareness, you could choose to have your post boosted to people that like your page and their friends. 
  • Pay as much as you’d like: Any budget works with boosted posts. Facebook will let you choose how long you would like your page boosted for as well as how large or specific the audience for the post will be. The more specific your audience, and the longer your post will be up, the more expensive the ad will be.

Disadvantages of Boosting on Facebook

  • Too customizable: Facebook allows you to boost your post for as long as you would like, as well as creating any audience you like — whether that’s a wide range or a super-specific one. However, your boosted post won’t be successful just because it’s boosted for a long time or if the audience you picked isn’t right for your content. 
  • It won’t fix a bad post:  If you’re seeing less engagement than usual on one of your posts, the solution may not be to boost it. Dramatically less engagement could mean that your content may not be meeting the needs of your audience. Putting this content in front of more eyes wouldn’t be the solution.
  • It only gains engagement on Facebook: If your goal isn’t to increase your company’s social media presence and engagement, you shouldn’t be boosting. Boosting your posts on Facebook can get you more reactions, shares, comments, and follows, but it doesn’t guarantee link clicks or conversions. If social media interactions aren’t your goal, consider a different form of marketing.

The Bottom Line of Boosting on Facebook

When choosing to boost posts on Facebook, know what goals you are trying to achieve before you decide to promote. Whether you are trying to increase brand awareness with potential new customers, or increase engagements with existing customers, use what already works well with your original audience. At the end of the day, remember to always be true to your brand.

5 Things You Need to Know About Facebook Advertising

One scroll through Facebook and you’ll see a plethora of posts tagged “Sponsored”. Businesses pay for these posts to get users to complete a call to action, turning users into customers or advocates with just one click.

Whether you want to start advertising on Facebook or improve your results, here are five things you need to know:

  1. Know your audience.

Facebook retains enormous quantities of information about its users, such as age, gender, location, job, hobbies, etc. A good first step in creating a successful Facebook ad would be to narrow down who you specifically want to target. While creating your Facebook ad, you can filter recipients by any of the categories mentioned and more. You can be super specific – even if you are looking for single moms, over 34, from Nebraska, who have an interest in bird watching (seriously!). 

  1.   Use the right images.

People are drawn to striking images with appealing colors, words, or objects. A good photo will get a better response from your ad, so put your eye to the test and find attractive photography with creative angles and interesting features.

  1.   Text IS important.

The image may grasp the users attention, but the text will likely be the differentiating factor in impression versus engagement (following the CTA). Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Little bits of information are going to get a better response than long winded paragraphs.

  1.  Set a realistic budget

Like any marketing strategy, you have to make a realistic budget, Facebook is no different. Knowing that you are not going to be able to reach the entire United States with just $10 per week is paramount. Set realistic parameters that all parties are comfortable with.

ProTip: Make sure you adjust the duration of the ad before publishing, it is very easy to accidentally spend $100 per day when you meant to spend that over the course of a month. Check and double check before you submit your ad, you won’t regret it!

  1.    Use a call to action

A call to action (CTA) is an instruction or directive that encourages the user to act in a particular way, achieving the primary goal of the campaign. “Download”, “Buy Now”, “Connect”, or “Like” are a few examples. For Facebook, limit the number of CTA’s to one and your Facebook ad is going to get a noticeably better response. 

 

Like anything, Facebook advertising is something that takes practice before you get it right; but once you create, analyze, and optimize your campaigns, you’ll learn what works best for your business and start seeing results.

If it still sounds too time consuming or confusing, contact CMG. We would be happy to lend a hand with your social media advertising. 

27 Must Know Digital Marketing Terms

I don’t know about you, but, when I can’t decide what to eat for lunch, I Google “food near me”. Once I find something that sounds good, I click “get directions” and Google takes me to wherever I need to go so I don’t have to navigate and get lost. Most of the time, if I have either horrible food or really good food, I want to give my two cents by writing a review online about whatever it is I had for lunch. Let’s not forget about the obligatory artsy Instagram photo of my neatly arranged sushi.

Let’s face it – the internet is becoming more and more prominent in our everyday lives. Guess what that means? Consumers are using the internet to help them make their purchasing decisions. In fact, in 2015, 64 cents of every dollar from in-store sales was influenced by the internet. WHOA!

If that’s not a game changer for your business strategy, I don’t know what is.

The world of digital marketing and advertising is one where trends change on a daily basis and growth never stops. With information at our fingertips 24/7, sometimes the internet and the world of digital marketing terms can be overwhelming. On top of that, its full of “industry speak” or specialized terms and phrases that most normal human beings don’t understand.

From SEO to PPC, we’ve developed straight-forward, jargon-free explanations of common digital marketing terms. Being familiar with these can help you navigate the digital world more efficiently, gain more insight, and get more value out of your online marketing. After reading this guide, you’ll have fewer things to Google – you’re welcome.


Industry “Jargon”

Explanation

Display

Banner Ads

Digital

Internet

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter

Tweet

A post on Twitter

Target Audience

Your Customers

SEO

Being found in Google

Paid Search/PPC

The sponsored ads in Google results

Online Reputation Management

Online reviews and Google listings

Mobile Conquesting

Ads on apps (in a specific location)

PreRoll

Video ads

Organic

Un-Paid

Reach

How many people saw it

Engagement

How many people liked/commented

Impression

A view of an ad

IP Targeting

Showing ads to specific people, at their home

Retargeting

Showing ads to people who visited your website

Web presence

Your company’s brand online

Ad Placement

The space on a website where your ad will appear

Ad Inventory

The ad spaces for sale on websites

Ad exchange

The technology that puts your ads on websites

Ad Network

A group of websites relevant to your customer

Behavioral targeting

Showing banner ads to people based on their online activity

Keyword targeting

Showing banner ads to people searching specific terms

Conversion

Someone took an action on your site (usually, filled out a form)

View-Through Visit

Someone saw your ad, didn’t click, then came to the website a different way

Content Management System/CMS

How your website is edited

WordPress

Our favorite CMS