The Art of the Soft Sell: How to Get the Click on Your Sales Page Without (Really) Asking for It

We’ve all seen those old-style sales pages filled with yellow highlights and screaming red text and lots of “BUY NOW” buttons, and when we think of copywriting, that’s often what comes to mind. While that style of sales page can be effective, it’s not the only way to make sales.
In fact, by taking a more subtle approach, you might even find that you generate more interest—and potentially more sales.

Stories Sell

One effective way to entice readers to click through to your sales page is with stories. These can be your stories or those of other people, with the goal of helping your readers to see themselves in the same situation.
Did you help a client turn her chaotic household into a calm oasis with better organizational skills? Her story on your sales page will get more clicks than all the yellow highlights you can buy.
What about that time you trashed your entire business plan and started over because you simply weren’t passionate about your work? Your potential business coaching clients will be anxious to learn more and will click through without you even asking.
That’s the power of stories, and you can use them everywhere: in your blog posts, in your emails, on your sales pages, and even in videos and on social media.

Be Genuinely Helpful

Want to build a reputation as the go-to person in your niche? All it takes is to help people. Answer questions on social media, volunteer to speak to groups who need your advice, write blog posts that address the most common issues your readers face.
By volunteering your time and knowledge, you’ll attract a wide audience of potential customers who may need your services in the future. Who will they turn to? That very helpful person who went out of their way to offer assistance in the past.
Now we’re not saying you have to give away all your time, but if you really want to show off your expertise, you can’t do better than a little volunteer work. Not only will you make an impression with the person you help. But chances are good they’ll share with their friends as well, further expanding your audience.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there is no place in your business for a strong call to action. “Click here to buy” and “Learn more right now” are still useful (and even necessary) on sales and opt-in pages. The key is to know when to make a subtle offer, and when to offer a bit more hand-holding.

Quick and Easy Tweaks to Automate Your Sales Funnel

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your sales funnel.

For many small business owners, though, that’s one area that’s often overlooked is your website.

Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List

Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave. (If you aren’t using pop-ups, you should be! Here’s my favorite WordPress plugin for pop-ups.)

But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, are they primed to learn more? Give them the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.

Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in. You can even customize the forms on each blog post with tags so you can target them further in your sales funnel.

Keep Them Reading With Related Links

How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.

Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.

[Hint: This is a perfect job for your VA.]

Make the Best of Your Download Pages

Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.

For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.

And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you in your Facebook group or weekly Periscope.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your sales funnel will practically fill itself.

3 Proven Strategies for Small Business Owners to Increase Cash Flow

Is your small business struggling to make enough profit to pay the bills? Low cash flow and living paycheck to paycheck can be quite frustrating. Perhaps you started a small business so you could pursue your dream while earning money at the same time. If so, then you know that it isn’t always easy to get a small business to bring in the profits you’d like.

However, if you’re willing to work hard and have a good plan, there’s no limit to how far you can take your small business. Luckily, there are many ways to increase your current cash flow and free you from the threat of financial disaster.

Consider these strategies to increase your cash flow:

  1. Collect feedback. Many small business owners forget the importance of soliciting feedback from their clients. There are several effective ways to find out what your clients think about your products and services.
    • Ask the client to fill out a quick survey or questionnaire to rate various aspects of your business. These surveys can provide an excellent glimpse into your client’s point of view. There are many different websites that enable you to create simple surveys. Look online to find one that meets your needs.
    • Follow up with your clients with a phone-call or email asking for comments about your products or services. Inquire about which aspects they are satisfied with and which need some work.
    • Talk to your clients in person and ask them how they feel about their experiences with your business.
    • Remember, word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise your business. If you have a bunch of satisfied customers, they’ll tell their friends and family about their positive experience and you’ll get more business.
  2. Get rid of products that don’t sell. It’s likely that you offer your customers a wide variety of products, but only a few of these products bring you maximum profit.
    • Sometimes a large inventory can work against your business. Customers often avoid buying altogether when they’re overwhelmed with options.
    • Instead of offering more products that likely won’t be sold, trash the unattractive products and offer more items or services related to your best-sellers. This is an excellent way to boost sales while reducing upkeep and inventory costs.
  3. Pursue unique marketing strategies. If your business is experiencing a steep drop in sales, there must be a reason. It could be that your marketing techniques are simply not as effective as you thought. Consider alternative marketing techniques.
    • Think about marketing your business online. It’s becoming easier with each passing day and more people are prone to search the internet for better deals. Businesses that have online order options are often much more successful. It’s a perfect way to increase cash flow.
    • Get the word out. Take advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Check out our Social Media services to see how we can help with this part!
    • Radio advertisements, commercials, billboards, and flyers all increase the visibility of your business. Sometimes, direct marketing is just as effective.

By using these strategies you can boost sales and increase the revenue of your business. Once these strategies have been implemented, there will be no need to worry about how you’re going to pay the next bill. You’ll finally have the money to live the life that you’ve dreamed of.

It just requires determination, persistence, creativity, and an open mind to make your business successful. Test different strategies and stick to the ones that work best for you. Your efforts will be worth it once you see those increased profits.

Have you used these, or any other, strategies to increase your small business’ cash flow? How did it go?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Health-Related Facebook Pages Could See Downgraded Posts for Sensationalist Health Claims

Last Tuesday, July 2, 2019, Facebook announced that they implemented two new post ranking updates to their most recent algorithm which was released last month. These updates target Pages that post “exaggerated or sensational health claims [or are] attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.” According to Travis Yeh, Facebook Product Manager, the reason behind this change to the algorithm is to “improve the quality of information in News Feed.”

Examples of the types of posts that would be downgraded were provided by Facebook. However, they leave a lot of room for interpretation. In our opinion, that means that there will be a lot of misidentified posts. The only good news is that Facebook won’t block the identified posts. Instead, they will be shown lower in the News Feeds of your followers.

Here’s what Facebook says about how they are evaluating posts through this new lens:

“We consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads — for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure [and] we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim — for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

As you can see, their definitions are fairly broad, though they anticipate that a majority of Pages won’t see a significant change to their post distribution in News Feeds. They suggest that Pages should avoid sensationalist health claims and solicitation using health-related claims. In addition, any pages that do see a decrease in distribution can simply stop posting that sort of content.

These newest changes to the ranking algorithm come on the heels of another major change involving health-related posts. In March, Facebook announced that it would take strong action against Pages and Groups that “spread misinformation about vaccinations on Facebook.” Those types of posts will see harsher consequences than those discussed above. Spreading misinformation about vaccinations can completely exclude your Page or Group from recommendations on Facebook. Also, Facebook will reduce the distribution of posts made by offending Pages and Groups as well as rejecting ads with the offending content.

So how do you avoid this type of content if you’re in a health-related field?

As with most issues related to Facebook’s algorithms, this all comes down to word usage. The algorithm will indetify posts by searching for phrases commonly found in spammy health-related posts. Facebook has not said what phrases the algorithm will look for. We believe terms to avoid are things like “guaranteed results”, “lose weight fast”, and “risk-free”.

What do you think of this change? Do you think it will help reduce spam for users? Or will it just make more unnecessary headaches for business Page owners?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Released 2019 Q1 Numbers on Automated Standards Enforcement

If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time (for business or personal use), it’s likely that you’ve had a post flagged for some sort of violation of Facebook’s community standards. As Facebook comes under more scrutiny for the content posted on their platform, they have increased the automated detection of said content. For the most part, this is a good thing, but there is a dark side to this increase in automated standards enforcement: misidentification.

In a recent report, Facebook gave an overview of how their automated detection is working. For the purposes of our post, we’re only going to focus on the spam numbers in the report. The report covers the first quarter of 2019 along with a broader view of the past year. Specifically, it shows the amount of content that Facebook has “taken action on” during that time period (meaning they removed the content, applied a warning screen to the content, or they disabled the account). According to the report, the amount of spam content that has had an action taken on it has more than doubled in the past year, going from 836 million in Q1 of 2018 to 1.76 billion in Q1 of 2019.

For the first quarter of 2019, they’ve added a new metric – they are now showing how much of the content that had action taken against it was restored, either by their own accord or because a user requested an appeal. They don’t have that information for any other time periods, so everyone is just going to have to wait and see how that metric increases or decreases in relation to the amount of spam identified.

To give Facebook some credit where credit is due, the report shows that in Q1 of 2019 only about 3% of the posts Facebook took action on were misidentified. That low of a percentage is great, but it still equals out to 44.2 million posts that were restored after being misidentified as spam. If one (or more) of your posts was part of that 3%, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s frustrating and troubling, to say the least, to have your content misidentified as spam. According to some users, having a post identified as spam can also cause problems in other areas, such as having your comments on other content flagged and locking you out of your account.

Overall, it appears that Facebook’s automated standards enforcement is doing its job, but because of the incredible amount of content shared on the platform every day, we feel like they might be struggling with getting it right. Regardless of our opinions though, one thing is certain, as Facebook continues to increase their automated standards enforcement, it’s likely that you will see an increase of spam notifications for content that you post on the platform.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s automated standards enforcement? Have you seen an increase in reported posts on your profile or pages?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Video Advertising on Social Media: The One Thing You Need to Know

If you’ve spent any time researching social media for business recently then I’m sure you’ve heard, video is where it’s at. Video ads are the fastest growing form of advertising online. According to eMarketer, US advertisers are expected to spend almost $16 billion just on video ads in 2019. That number is expected to jump to an estimated $25 billion by 2022!

The reasons behind the swell in video advertising are clear: more people are watching and responding to video ads than ever before. It’s estimated that by 2020, the number of smartphone users watching mobile video will be close to 200 million. In addition, those viewers will spend close to 30 minutes per day watching mobile video. That’s a lot of eyeballs.

Regardless of if you’re a seasoned video advertiser or just getting into the game, the one thing you need to know is how to measure the effectiveness of your video ads – the return on investment. “Video Views” are generally the metric to watch to figure out your ROI. A video view is how many times the video has been watched, but the definition of what constitutes a video view is fuzzy at best.

Video view metrics vary based on the platform and can mean different things based on which one you’re using. So, here’s a breakdown of how “video views” are measured on some of the largest platforms.

YouTube

Definition of a view: 30 seconds (or the whole duration, if your video is less than 30 seconds) or when the viewer actively engages with your video, whichever action comes first.

For what counts as a view on YouTube video ads, we looked at their TrueView in-stream advertising. For TrueView in-stream, a view is counted as the number of times your video is viewed for 30 seconds (or the whole duration, if your video is less than 30 seconds) or when the viewer actively engages with your video, whichever action comes first.

Also, it’s worth noting that when a video is first posted, YouTube filters the number of views based on what it considers to be actual human views, not computer programs. It shows what it considers to be “quality views” until the number of views gets up high enough. They don’t really say what that means, because it varies based on the popularity of the video. Read more about this process in YouTube’s Help Center.

Facebook and Instagram

Definition of a view: three seconds, or 97% of the total length of the video if its total length is less than three seconds.

The definition above is the standard for Facebook and Instagram. However, calculating how much you’re charged for the ad depends on the type of ad you purchase. If you purchase a CPM (cost per 1,000 views/impressions) you will be charged after the standard three seconds. However, if you purchase a ThruPlay ad, you will be charged after a viewer watches your video for 15 seconds (or 97% of the video, if its total length is less than 15 seconds).

LinkedIn

Definition of a view: 2 seconds of continuous playback while the video is at least 50% on the screen or an active engagement with your video, whichever comes first.

LinkedIn has adopted the Media Rating Council’s (MRC) definition of a view. LinkedIn also provides metrics on the number of times a video is viewed to 50%, 75% and 100% of the total length of the video.

Pinterest

Definition of a view: 2 seconds of continuous playback while the video is at least 50% on the screen.

Pinterest has also chosen to adopt the MRC definition of a view. Pinterest also tracks some engagements and how long the video was viewed, but their analytics are limited, so they’ve partnered with other companies to expand the options for measurements.

Snapchat

Definition of a view: 2 seconds of continuous watch time or a swipe up action on the Top Snap.

Snapchat also adopted the MRC definition, however they include the “swipe up” action in their definition due to the nature of the way media is delivered on their platform. The number of Snaps watched to 25%, 50% and 75% is also provided.

Twitter

Definition of a view: 2 seconds of continuous playback while the video is at least 50% on the screen.

Twitter also opted to use the MRC definition of a view for their Video Views metric. They also have a metric called “Media Views” which includes views of all media types: videos, vines, gifs and images.

 

BONUS TIP

Don’t just use the number of views as your measurement of success. Different video campaigns should have different desired outcomes and different results. If it’s not necessary for viewers to watch your entire video, then completion rates aren’t as important. You can use the percentage of completion rates to see if viewers are watching long enough to get the message. You can also use demographic information to see if you’re reaching your desired audience.

Do you use video ads as a part of your business’ marketing campaign? What metrics do you look for on your video ads?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Ads Just Lost Some Oomph for Some Small Businesses

Facebook recently announced that it has changed the way Facebook Ads target specific people and groups. This change specifically applies to ads offering housing, employment or credit opportunities. It drastically reduces the number of categories and groups available for ad targeting by advertisers offering those opportunities. For instance, advertisers in those industries will no longer be able to target by age, gender or zip code. Also, any categories that include “multicultural affinity targeting” or “detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes” will no longer available.

This change is a part of a settlement with the NFHA, ACLU, CWA and some other groups. The goal of this change is to prevent the Facebook Ads from being used to discriminate. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the hope is that it will “better protect people on Facebook”.

What do you think about this change to Facebook Ads? Will it change anything about the way you use the Facebook Ads service?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Scoop on Hashtags

Whether you’re a seasoned hashtag expert or you still call it a “pound sign”, hashtags can still befuddle the best of us. To help clear that up, we’re going to to over some hashtag basics.

Read more