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How To Get Web Design Clients Fast (Part 2)

In part 1, we explained how to use a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) model to grow your web design business. In this second part, we’ll explain how to use proven sales techniques to keep scaling your business profitably.

If you’re an agency owner, you know that you need customers to grow. No matter how big your dreams are, customers are the lifeblood of your business. But you’re probably wondering — how do you attract quality, high-paying clients?

We started our design agency from zero. Two and a half years later, that same business generated $50,000 USD in monthly revenue, and today, it’s many times that size and still growing — all thanks to the sales techniques you’re about to read.

The secret to any successful company is sales, and that applies to design businesses too. Some people are worried about their lack of experience, especially since real-world sales techniques aren’t taught in school. But don’t worry. Sales savvy is like anything else — a skill that you can learn. If you’re ready to learn how to get web design clients fast, keep reading.

How To Set (and Reach) Ambitious Sales Goals

To set a sales objective, choose a target monthly recurring revenue number and deadline. You can base this on your ideal income or what you currently make with one-off clients. For example, your goal could be earning $7,000 USD per month within 24 months after you kick-off. Then divide that figure by your average price. So if you charge $100 per month, you’ll need 70 customers.

When you start, you’ll probably convert about 2–3% of your leads, so you’ll need to contact 33 people for each new customer. So a goal of 70 customers for $7,000 USD per month means reaching 2,300–4,600 leads. (This number may be higher or lower depending on your sales skills and lead quality.)

Thousands of leads probably sounds like a lot! But it’s manageable if you break it down. Each month, you’ll need to contact about 100–200 leads. If you work Monday–Friday, that’s just 5–10 leads a day. Stick with that goal and have an accountability system to track how well you’re doing.

Focus on hitting those lead goals every day or week, even if you don’t see immediate results. Sometimes you’ll close a prospect the same day, but it will more likely take a few days or even weeks of follow-up, explanations, and demos before you finally win them over.

If you don’t work consistently on your goals, it will be frustrating down the line. If you pitch 40 prospects the first week, then 5 the next week, then 15, then 40 again, you’ll have a patchy funnel and inconsistent growth. Put in consistent work, and you’ll see continual progress that will snowball over time.

Once you have your goal set, where should you look for those MRR clients? Here are the best strategies we’ve learned.

Nine Places To Find Web Design Clients

When you’re just starting, you should try different methods to get clients. As you gain more experience, you’ll learn where to focus your efforts, and you’ll get better at converting those clients. Cold pitching a potential client might work best for you, while digital marketing does well for someone else.

1. Use Personal Connections

Chances are, you already know someone who could become a new web design client—or you know someone who knows someone. Share what you’re doing with friends, family, neighbors, and especially any local business owners you know.

You never know which referral might get you another client.

2. Sell With Your Website

Do you want a salesperson that is always working, never gets tired, and can sell to thousands of clients at once? Then you’ll want to make sure your current website is at its very best. If you’re using a basic theme, switch to a modern custom design. Web design clients will judge your design skills by the quality of your own site, so make sure it’s always looking good.

For our agency, we’re continually improving our website to keep it up-to-date and modern. We also include a portfolio of sites we’ve designed so that prospects can see the kind of quality we offer.

3. Ask For Referrals

You’ve worked insanely hard to get the customers you have. Why not leverage your trust with them for even more profit and sales? Ask a happy client to tell their hairdresser, favorite restaurant, plumber, dentist, lawyer, and other local businesses. Then check up on those leads and convince them to hire you as a web designer.

Remember, referring a friend is the best way past clients can thank you. To get referrals, you’ll need to ask! As a bonus, thank your customers or friends for a referral. A surprise gift for a referral goes a long way.

Some referral gifts we recommend are:

  • 10% off your next site update,
  • Free website health check,
  • One month free of charge,
  • $100 Amazon voucher.

4. Partner With Other Businesses

Another strategy to grow your client list is to partner with related businesses, like SEO firms or ad agencies. When you can find a great company in a related but non-competitive niche, reach out and form a partnership. You recommend clients to them, and they’ll recommend clients to you.

Everyone wins. Your customers get helpful services, and both of you will benefit from the referrals you share.

5. Use Content Marketing

You can also use inbound marketing to attract customers to you with content instead of going to them. Blogging on your own site gives you credibility, especially if you focus on writing about solutions for the biggest problems your clients have. New customers already see you as the expert because they’ve read a blog post. Write articles that cover the basic principles of building an online presence and growing a customer base.

The second strategy is guest posting. For example, you can write about best practices for a restaurant website and post them on a blog where restaurant owners get the latest news for their business. Educational content establishes you as an authority and opens you up to a new audience eager to learn about their industry. Writing for other sites has helped us a lot — you’re reading one of those articles now!

Note: We go into more detail on using content marketing in our free guide to finding web design clients.

6. Post On Social Media

We’ve seen success promoting our content on social media. The two that have worked the best for us have been Facebook and LinkedIn, but feel free to experiment with others. Various industries will have a preferred social media platform, so learn about this for your niche and target accordingly.

Organic social media works best as a part of your strategy alongside other methods. It might not bring in leads itself, but a strong social media presence helps convert potential clients who need a good reason to choose you. If you’re doing well on social networks, it can help with that decision-making process and close the deal.

The most important content you can share solves your customer’s problems. And it isn’t just about selling — think of how to teach your customers to take advantage of new digital technologies. For example, you can teach restaurants how to set up a QR code for a digital menu. In addition to helpful content, we recommend sharing sites you’ve designed and using hashtags your target customer will recognize. But make sure to keep your feed professional — don’t post pictures of what you ate for breakfast!

7. Test Paid Ads

The reality is that you won’t keep growing with free methods after a certain point. That’s why we recommend using paid ads as you grow. We’ve used various platforms, from Google Ads to job boards. We’ve also seen a lot of success in offering an email newsletter with multiple opt-ins.

You can also try Facebook Ads and a more complex sales funnel system, complete with a landing page to collect web design leads. Paid ads have brought in lots of new customers for us.

8. Build A Network

An effective way of getting new clients is by building your professional network. First, connect with other founders in person. If you’re not already involved in your local community of business leaders, start as soon as possible. You’ll get valuable advice and business contacts that can lead to more sales in the future.

One of the best places to do this is networking events, like local community business leader meetups. You’ll meet lots of potential clients and get leads for many more. Don’t pitch these contacts, just build relationships. Care about their business and learn what they’re looking for. When they need a website, they’ll know who to turn to.

As the world has gone remote, look for virtual events as well. Check out local business leader Facebook groups, digital summits, and other opportunities to connect remotely.

9. Do Cold Outreach

Last but not least is cold outreach. You’ll need to research a target audience, find a potential client, and reach out with a phone call introducing yourself. Cold outreach has been the main way we’ve built our agency. It’s a lot of hard work, but the results speak for themselves!

The best way to make a sale is by positioning a business website as the solution to a challenge your prospect faces, like restaurants wanting new customers or losing foot traffic to national chain competitors.

We’ll go into cold outreach more in the next section, but these three principles are a great starting point:

  • Build rapport with your prospect.
    Know their name and understand their business, and always look for a personal connection. Honestly care about their success.
  • Be an expert.
    Asking insightful questions is a great way to be knowledgeable without showing off. Help your prospect consider new opportunities in their business they wouldn’t have thought of if it wasn’t for you.
  • Get a commitment.
    Before you hang up the phone, try your best to get the prospect to close or else agree to talk later.

With these points in mind, you can use the following script to make the sale.

Our Most Effective Sales Strategy

We’ll walk through the template we’ve used to convert hundreds of cold leads into happy customers. This successful sales technique boils down to five key steps.

Step 1: Build Rapport And Understanding

Before you jump into a sales pitch, show you care about the business owner and want them to succeed. Start by introducing yourself with your name. Make sure you’re talking to the owner or decision-maker before moving on.

Next, draw a connection to their business—the more personal, the better. Maybe you ate at the client’s restaurant recently, saw one of their delivery vans, or found them on the internet (this neutral intro always works if you don’t have anything specific to point out).

Here’s a version of the script we might use:

Hi, it’s Dave Smith speaking!

Am I speaking to Lisa Samuelson? Great!

Some friends had dinner at Lisa’s Diner a few weeks ago and gave you very high praise.

Step 2: Create Demand By Showing How You Can Help

Your goal here is to offer a way to bring in new paying customers without extra work. Who wouldn’t take you up on that deal? Most of the time, business owners don’t want a website—they want the results a website will bring, like better visibility, high search rankings, more customers, more job applicants, and so on.

You can develop your versions of the following and include a relevant case study from a previous client. For example, a painter specializing in complete house exteriors might tire of requests for small interior jobs. A specialized website can filter their prospects and bring them better business.

Here’s a basic script our team has developed:

Well, Lisa, I run a firm here in CITY that helps business owners become more successful in the digital world with high-quality, full-service websites.

We realized most business owners don’t have the time or tech skills to build and maintain their own website. As a result, they have an outdated site or no site and lose potential customers every day.

We believe business owners should focus on their business. We handle every part of your site, from updates to domain, hosting, email, and even search engine optimization if you want.

Step 3: Show Why You’re The Best Option

Up next, you’ll need to show why the prospect must choose you. Cover the advantages of the recurring revenue model here and explain your fees. Explain that you deliver top-quality modern websites combined with outstanding service, all at affordable prices.

Here are the best talking points you can use:

We run a technology that allows us to deliver top-quality modern websites combined with outstanding service, all at affordable prices.

Unlike traditional agencies or web designers, you don’t pay us thousands upfront, only to get a website to maintain on your own that will be technically outdated in two years.

For a one-time setup fee of $499 USD and a monthly charge of just $99 USD, we’ll create a professional site, update the content, do technical maintenance, keep your domain name current, host the site, and keep your email accounts running.

We have a 20% discount on the monthly fee when billed annually.

Step 4: Tailor Your Pitch To Their Business

The next step is to understand their business and show you care about it. The more you find out about the client’s business and problems, the better you’ll be able to tailor your sales pitch!

Here are the best types of questions to use and how to show how a website will help:

  • What is the greatest challenge in your industry/for your business?
    However they respond, explain how a website will help! You can help them find employees, acquire customers, and stand apart from the competition.
  • Who is currently responsible for your website/web presence?
    Most of the time, it’s not in the hands of a professional. Ask questions to show why this is a problem, like asking what their backup plan is in case of a server crash or how they’re keeping the site updated for more recent devices, standards, and best practices. Explain how your team has experience handling website problems and will always treat them like professionals.
  • Do you know how many visits your current website has?
    If they do, show what you can do to increase this. If not, explain how your site will provide them with valuable data to find more customers and grow their business.
  • Do you know what percentage of customers in your industry are on mobile devices?
    Find out this number in advance. If the prospect’s website isn’t mobile responsive, point out that they’re missing out on a considerable number of customers.

Gathering data upfront from your customer and asking the right questions will show that you are a pro. You’ll demonstrate that you really care and thus build trust.

Step 5: Close The Sale

The most important part of the sales process is closing. Move the prospect to make a firm commitment to start working with you. If they aren’t ready to start immediately, offer a smaller next step, like scheduling a later meeting or sharing testimonials. Always make sure a decision-maker is participating in the next meeting!

Up next, we’ll look at some closing strategies that can help you seal the deal with clients.

Proven Closing Strategies To Finalize The Sale

When you reach the end of a call with a potential client, your job is simple—get them to pay for your web design services. But while the idea is simple, getting a prospect to sign up can be very difficult in practice. To help, here are some techniques we’ve used to close more deals faster.

Share References And Portfolio Pieces

One of the best ways to convince a prospect is by showing them a previous site you’ve designed for a similar client or letting them talk to a current client of yours. Keep portfolio sites for the various verticals you target, like salons, restaurants, dentist offices, and the like. With permission, you can also share the contact information of a current happy customer.

Design First, Charge Later

One technique that worked well for us at the beginning was doing web design first, then charging later. Charging later works best if you don’t have an extensive portfolio or are branching into a new web design niche without relevant work samples. (For example, if you have a dozen restaurant websites but want to land a new hairdresser client.)

To use this strategy, you’ll first design a draft of the new website. Then if the client likes it, they’ll pay the upfront design fee and move forward. This strategy involves more work for you upfront, but it proves to the client that you can build great sites and understand their business. And if they don’t like the website? Not to worry—you’ve created a portfolio piece you can use for another customer down the road.

Waive The Setup Fee

Another strategy you can use is waiving the setup fee. This fee can be a significant barrier for many new clients since they have to pay $500 USD (or whatever your setup fee is) before seeing results. Instead, just charge your monthly recurring payment. You’ll make less money in the short term, but you’ll be more likely to win over an ideal client to stay with you for a while.

If you don’t want to design a site for free like the previous suggestion, this is a great middle option that gives the client a great site with less risk but still lets you get paid for your work.

Show Your Process

You can also build trust by showing your web design process, from draft to design to publication. Doing this as the final stage before you ask for a sale can help create confidence in the prospect’s mind about what you have to offer. People don’t trust what they don’t understand, so show the steps and build trust.

Automatic Payments

This tip applies once you close a sale and want to make sure you still get paid every month: use automatic billing. If you have to ask for payment every month, it’s a constant reminder of what they’re paying. But if you have a credit card on file or use a payment processor that charges your clients automatically each month, you can count on steady, regular cashflow.

It’s also a timesaver for everyone—your client doesn’t have to spend time paying yet another bill, and you can rest easy knowing you don’t have to follow up for a missed payment.

Teach And Build A Relationship

If all else fails and the perfect prospect doesn’t want to sign up at the last minute, never burn the bridge. Don’t let the rejection get to you, and remember you’re a website expert, but also friendly and accessible and willing to help your clients understand what’s going on.

Take the chance to explain what a client might want to look for if they decide to launch a website later. Explain what features are most important based on your knowledge. If a client doesn’t want a website now, there still may be opportunities in the future. Build trust, strengthen the relationship, and play the long game.

Now It’s Your Turn To Find Web Design Clients

Over the last few years, we’ve been privileged to work with so many incredible clients—all following the ideas and suggestions outlined above. The real secret was, of course, putting in hard work and focusing on growth goals. The sales techniques mentioned above helped us then convert those prospects into paying customers.

We also used internal software that we recently released Sitejet to speed up the process and become more profitable. We designed Sitejet to help agencies grow with MRR clients by cutting site creation time by as much as 70% and streamlining client interactions. It’s created to help designers grow their business and give back time for what you love: being creative.

Anyone can successfully grow their design agency. As we explained in the first part of this series, starting takes motivation and an effective pricing model and mindset. And as we shared in this second part, growth comes once you combine proven techniques with lots of hard work! Good luck—and we can’t wait to hear your stories in the comments to this article!

Reblogged 3 days ago from smashingmagazine.com

How to define and reach your target audience on social media

Defining a target audience can be one of the most challenging aspects of marketing. But once you have a clear idea of who your audience is, you’ll run more relevant campaigns with better returns.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to define a target audience and reach them through social media.

What is a target audience?

First, let’s start by understanding what a target audience actually is. In simplest terms, a target audience refers to the group of people that are most likely to be interested in your product or offer. And members of this group share common traits.

Let’s look at a few examples of target audiences. Canva, the online design tool, has a large target group of designers and design enthusiasts, which could be broken down to how these groups use the tool.

For instance, one of Canva’s target audiences is teachers, who use the tool to create worksheets, infographics or posters.

Another major target audience group for Canva is social marketers who need to create captivating visuals for their brand’s social media and digital campaigns.

Why should you define your target audience?

Why is defining a target audience so important? Below are some of the top ways in which you can benefit from marketing to a targeted audience:

  • Focusing on a few specific target groups allows you to advertise more effectively.
  • This also means allocating money and resources on relevant consumer groups.
  • Knowing a specific audience group to target also helps solidify a brand voice that resonates. This amplifies your social media branding efforts.
  • When you market to a highly specific target audience, you can develop messaging that truly resonates with them. This makes it easier to connect with them and earn their loyalty.

Now that you know how to define a target audience, let’s find out who are target audience is.

Take a closer look at your existing audience

Start by taking a closer look at who are already following you or buying from you. The goal is to identify who wants to engage with you on social media and gain a better understanding of them.

Here are a few questions that’ll help you with this step:

1. Who is your current audience?

Monitor who follows you on social media and interacts with your posts. Who likes, shares, comments on your content? Then narrow down on key common characteristics such as age, location, language, interests and so on.

So who is your target audience? The answer lies with the people who identify with your brand.

2. What kind of information are they looking for and why?

The next question to ask is why and what information is your audience following you for?

Understanding the kind of information followers seek will help with understanding your audience. And you’ll identify their needs and how to approach them on social media.

It’s good to note that people will have different reasons why they follow brands on social media. And you’ll have to adapt your social media content strategy accordingly.

According to the Sprout Social Index™: Above and Beyond, the top four most commons reasons why consumers follow brands on social media are to:

  1. learn about new products or services (57%)
  2. stay up to date on company news (47%)
  3. learn about promotions or discounts (40%)
  4. be entertained (40%).
Sprout Social Index data on why consumers follow brands on social media

3. Where do they go for this information?

Which social media networks does your target audience frequent the most? Based on your research, where have you noticed your audience the most? To make an impact, make sure that you’re reaching your target groups where they’re the most active.

For instance, launching a Twitter campaign doesn’t make sense if a majority of your target audience is most active on Instagram. Understanding what your audience wants and on which platform will define your content strategy.

4. What are they talking about?

This is one of the most critical questions that can give you the most insight about your target audience. Instead of guessing, you’ll know exactly what your audience is talking about.

What are your audiences likes and dislikes? What challenges and what solutions are they looking for? What are they saying about your brand or products? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down on their biggest pain points and desires.

A platform such as Sprout Social makes distilling through online conversations easy with its social media listening tool. This tool tracks conversations around your brand, examines audience preferences, identifies trending topics and more.

Screenshot of the Sprout Social Listening Tool dashboard

5. Who do they trust?

Trust is important when building relationships with your followers? Think about your social habits: do you trust any brand online? Do online reviews from other customers way your purchase decisions?

Think about how your business handles its reputation as well. Do you respond to all inbound messages or social mentions? Being present for your brand and for your audience is important to build trust and attract your target audience.

Define the key benefits of your products or services

Now that you’ve defined your target audience, how can you solve their pain points with your products or services? What value does your business offer? By defining these pain points and your key benefits, you’ll have a clearer idea on how to best position your business in a way that resonates with your target audience. Plus, this will also help you narrow down the unique advantage that you have over the competition.

One of American Express’s biggest competitive advantages is the loyalty programs it has for customers. And to promote this unique selling point, the company leverages Amex Ambassadors for its social media content strategy.

Check out the competition

To properly define and reach your target audience, you also need to take a look at what the competition is doing. Ask questions such as:

  • What types of people are your competitors targeting?
  • How are they reaching out to their target audience?
  • What are they doing right?
  • What’s missing from their strategy?
  • What key benefits are they emphasizing in their marketing?
  • How often are they posting?
  • Which content formats seem to work the best for them?
  • What kind of tone are they using?

Again, Sprout can help uncover these answers with social listening. Create listening topics around your competitors to understand the social chatter around their brands.

Create content for your social media target audience

Now that you have all this insight about your target audience, it’s time to start creating content.

Here are a few best practices to guide you:

  • Try A/B testing different content elements, formats, timings and more. As a result, you’ll fine-tune your content strategy to the types of posts your target audience tends to engage with. Monitor what kind of captions they like, which timing works best to engage them and so on.
  • Remember to create content for different stages of the purchase funnel. Entertaining content may be great to capture attention at the awareness stage, for example. But for those at the consideration stage, informative and instructional pieces work better.
  • Be more direct with your audience research. Instead of assuming or using solely analytics data alone, consider what your followers really think by putting those insights into context. Conduct polls and ask them questions so you can engage them better.

Ready to connect with your target audience?

Now that you’re armed with knowledge to identify and engage with your target audience, you can create a strategy to connect with them. To take it one step further, use our free worksheet on how to create authentic connections with your audience.

This post How to define and reach your target audience on social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

The ultimate guide to using Facebook stories for business

It goes without saying that the social media landscape evolves quickly. Before we know it, new trends emerge along with their accompanying hashtags and new topics take over our conversations. Similarly, new social media features soon become something we “can’t live without.”

The same is true for Facebook stories, which was introduced in 2016 and has turned into a vital feature. For social marketers who want to get in on the action, it’s all about adapting to the latest changes and implementing the newest features into your marketing strategy.

So if you plan on using Facebook Stories for marketing, this detailed guide explains what the feature is, why you should use it and how to use Facebook stories for business.

What are Facebook stories?

Facebook stories is a feature that lets you share content (be it photos, videos or even animation) that disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook stories from your friends and followed Pages appear at the top of your newsfeed. This applies to both the web version and the Facebook app.

Red box around Facebook story cards that are located at the top of your newsfeed in both mobile and desktop

Why Facebook stories matter for your business

So why use Facebook stories for business? What’s the benefit?

We know the Facebook algorithm can be a little tricky for gaining organic reach. But the good news is that stories are displayed prominently at the top of every newsfeed where people are likely to take notice.

The feature has seen significant adoption in recent years. About 500 million people now use Facebook stories every day, meaning it has the potential to help you reach a massive audience with the right strategies.

How to create Facebook story content

While you can create a story from the desktop app as well as Facebook Messenger, the regular Facebook mobile app offers the most robust options.

And since you’re interested in using Facebook stories for business, select the “+” button that appears on your Facebook Page profile picture and choose “Create story.” This will open up several options to create your Facebook story content.

Arrow pointing to the "create story" button for a Facebook Page

Step 1. Choose the type of Facebook story content you want to create

When creating a Facebook story, you’ll have the option to choose from different types of content formats, or you can also choose to upload an existing photo or video from your gallery.

Arrows pointing to the "camera" option in the bottom right corner to open your phone's camera for facebook stories and another pointing to the card labeled "Selfies" at the top of the screen.

Facebook offers several different formats and tools for your stories content:

  • Gallery – for sharing existing photos or videos on your phone.
  • Boomerang – for taking a burst of photos and turning them into an animation.
  • Text – for creating a text-based story.
  • Layout – for posting multiple photos in different grids or collage configurations.
  • Superzoom – for zooming in on a subject.
  • Poll – for conducting viewer polls between two options.

The top row options and the blue camera icon in the bottom right corner give you two access points for those different story formats. However, when you click the blue camera icon, you can also take pictures or record videos, boomerangs or Facebook live videos.

Facebook story video length

Each Facebook story video can last up to 20 seconds. If you’re not sure what you can fit into this short timeframe, check out our tips on creating social media videos to get started.

Step 2. Get creative with your content

Now comes the fun part – customizing your Facebook story. Facebook offers plenty of creative tools to make your stories pop. So you can play around with these options before you finish creating your story. Find these fun add-ons on the right-hand column after you’ve selected an image file or taken a new picture or video.

  • Stickers pulls up a library of fun stickers you can select to include in your stories, both animated and static. You can add music and GIFs to your story, share an event, conduct polls, ask questions, tag people and products, share your location and more.
  • Text can be added to your story as a closed captioning or to provide additional context. There are plenty of options to customize the text with different fonts, colors, styles and backgrounds.
  • Draw or apply effects to your stories too for a more whimsical addition. Draw freehand or use abstract effects as an overlay.
  • Add animated effects to make your story such as bounce, slide, zoom in or out.
Red box placed around the different Facebook stories editing and effects options after an image has been selected or taken.

Step 3. Add custom links and buttons

What separates Facebook stories on profiles versus Pages is the ability to share links. So for those using Facebook stories for business, there are several links and buttons that are crucial for marketing.

By tapping the link icon on the right sidebar, you can choose from a few call-to-action buttons and customize them for viewers to interact with. Encourage people to book now, call, get directions, shop and much more.

Screenshot of the different custom links and stickers tray for Facebook stories

Step 4. Share your Story

Once you’re satisfied with your creation, tap on “Share Now.” And that’s it – you’ve created and shared your Facebook story.

Best practices on how to use Facebook stories

While knowing the basics may be great, it’s not really enough if you want to get ahead of the competition. To get more out of your Facebook stories efforts, follow these best practices:

1. Create exciting, time-sensitive content

The “urgency factor” is what makes stories such a popular feature because of its 24-hour availability. Take advantage of this to create time-sensitive content that can build excitement and urgency.

Consider promoting a 24-hour sale with a code, share early bird offers, get people to sign up for an event and more.

2. Make it interactive and actionable

Because stories can draw in a large audience, create opportunities for engagement by using interactive tools like polls and voting stickers. See how PopSugar Fitness uses a poll in their story below:

Screenshot of PopSugar Fitness Facebook story that has a poll

Ask your audience questions or give them prompts to engage with. Don’t forget that if you’re creating a story for a Facebook Page, you can add custom links and buttons to drive more engagement.

3. Share third-party content in your stories

To diversify your Facebook content strategy, share relevant, third-party content that your audience might like. Share a post to your stories by clicking on the “Share” button next to a post.

Screenshot showing how to share a Facebook post to stories with the "Share" button options.

4. Track your stories performance

Always keep an eye on how your Facebook stories posts are performing. What seems to be attracting more attention? What types of posts do people want to engage with? Do they drop off at a certain point if you post too many stories? Which post timings seem to drive the most views?

Observe all of these details to adjust and polish your Facebook stories strategy for a bigger impact. For a 360-degree view of your Facebook performance, combine these insights with your complete Facebook report in Sprout Social. Use this data to see how your Page is faring overall in terms of impressions, engagement, fan growth and so on.

Build better engagement with Stories

For brands that have been struggling to gain organic reach and engage their audience on Facebook, it’s time to embrace the power of Facebook stories. This guide provides you with the basics and best practices to use the feature, and now it’s time to put in the hard work. To level up your Facebook efforts even more, read out Facebook marketing strategy guide.

This post The ultimate guide to using Facebook stories for business originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

How to Use Low Search Volume Keywords to Optimize B2B Tech Content


The pros and cons of specializing in specific martech products

MOPs practitioners have their favorite solutions, but is it a good idea to specialize in one only?

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.marketingland.com

Pinterest’s new code, free trials and freemiums: Wednesday’s daily brief

Plus, a new platform for virtual selling

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.marketingland.com

Announcing Our Investment in OneSignal

A widening set of engagement channels are leveling the playing field for businesses of all sizes to bring customers back to their products.

This is particularly true for modern software companies. Their products are increasingly reliant on non-product communication channels to drive awareness, engagement and customer success.

For data-driven teams, this is particularly powerful: increases in personalization, content optimization, and customized deliveries have become a force multiplier in a company’s ability to reach and maintain a loyal audience of customers.

Some of the world’s best brands have taken notice, differentiating through an integrated messaging approach that reaches users across devices at the right time. 

Enter OneSignal. Founder George Deglin and his team began as a small crew of app and game developers solving their own problems with reaching their users in a unified way. They built OneSignal to initially power push notifications.

Today, they are a customer engagement platform of choice implemented by over 1,000,000 developers across 500,000 live apps and almost 4% of sites on the internet. They’ve built a web and mobile SDK that developers install and marketers use to offer omni-channel messaging across web-and-mobile push, in-app messaging, SMS, and email. 

HubSpot worked closely with OneSignal to develop an integration (in Beta) that’s now available in our marketplace, and we’ve been steadily impressed by the power of their product and the considerable value it can bring to our customers’ core HubSpot experience. 

In addition to our integration, we are thrilled to announce HubSpot’s investment in OneSignal as we continue to collaborate with their team in powering a remarkable messaging experience for our customers.

One of HubSpot’s product leaders, Will DeKrey, shared a bit more about the collaboration between the two businesses after spending many months working with their team:

“Through HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, we want to help marketing teams craft remarkable customer journeys across all the channels where their audiences spend time. This integration combines the ease of use and deep power of HubSpot’s marketing automation capabilities with reach into critical channels where OneSignal has honed specific expertise, like web and mobile push. Marketers are going to be thrilled with the ability to tap into these channels, align their push messages with the rest of their marketing, and leverage CRM data along the way to power personalization.”

On top of a great product, OneSignal has built a wonderful team, and we are excited to support them in their next phase of growth. We have no doubt that the OneSignal journey is just getting started, and we are honored to be a part of that story.

Reblogged 4 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

Google Ads rolling out auto-applied recommendations

Auto-applied recommendations might save people time but it might not always be the smartest way to spend your ad money.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Tips from the pros at SMX Create; Wednesday’s daily brief

Plus, competitors and regulators are sounding off on FLoC.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The 3 Best Evergreen Webinar Software You Need Now

Initially launched in the 1990s, webinar caché once relied heavily on live events. In 2020 however, we saw the webinar space pivot towards the on-demand space.

Lower cost per acquisition, ease of automation, and building trusted archives of useful content has proven to be an effective means of moving customers through the sales funnel.

While not as flashy as their live counterparts, evergreen webinars have proven to be the tortoise to live webinar’s hare: slow and steady sees the highest ROI.

Read on to find out our favorite evergreen webinar strategies, platforms, and the features that make all the difference.

When businesses first started producing webinars the focus skewed towards live events. Shiny and new, the promise of a live webinar meant capturing highly engaged leads and collaborating with top talent in the industry.

But live webinars are also a ton of work to produce: weeks of coordination, marketing emails, practice sessions, and script revisions, building slide decks… all for an hour of learning, and a few days of follow-ups.

Tons of information was lost every time a webinar ended because there wasn’t a simple way to re-watch it. Until we got savvy and started recording them.

Hosting your recorded webinars is an excellent, low-cost way to create resources for potential or existing customers about how to get set up with your software, walking through common blockers customers face, or demonstrating new tools and integrations.

There are many different content streams you can explore with automated webinars, including:

  1. Training videos: Record your account executive’s run-through of your software and make it work harder by offering it as an on-demand webinar.
  2. Lectures and thought leadership: Get the most out of guest-speaker and C-Suite time by offering a thought-leadership section of on-demand webinars in your archive.
  3. Tutorials: Make it simple to learn how to use and explore new product integrations or updates with quick, evergreen webinar content.
  4. A case study walk through: Make your case studies come to life, and then automate the recording to make your witticisms and insights go the extra mile.

When done well, a library of on-demand webinars can act as an automated sales engine, driving customers through the funnel as they engage with and learn more about your product. It’s a great example of working smarter rather than harder.

Evaluating the Best Evergreen Webinar Software

It’s tempting to outsource your software search to Google. While you might end up with a good product, you may be missing key features that will make your presentations really hum. You may even end up over-investing. The first thing to do? Understand your limits.

A webinar program can be a simple automated recording … or it can be as complicated as producing live television. Understand the complexity of your program by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. How many attendees do I expect per session? Most platforms have tiered pricing tied to how many guests can attend a given webinar. If you’re just starting your webinar program, look for an option that will allow you to scale up but doesn’t demand a huge investment right away.
  2. What resources are available to me? Training and implementation take time. A lot of time. As you’re researching platforms, consider what kind of support is available. Will you be given a dedicated account manager? How robust is the platform’s resource library? Remember: The best software is the software you actually use.
  3. Always take advantage of a free trial … and if you are considering purchasing the product, but need more time, ask for an extension.

The Best Evergreen Webinar Software

On-demand webinars don’t have the same immediate converting power as their live counterparts. Instead, they excel at customer education and establishing brand trust.

Think of your on-demand webinars as a way to educate your existing customer base, and as an ambassador of your company’s willingness to help.

Here are two of the best software for hosting, recording, and delivering evergreen webinars:

1. DEMIO

Demio is a best-of-both-worlds option. While its focus is on producing live webinars, Demio makes it simple to build out your webinar library. We love how Demio:

  • Offers automated recordings, which make it easy to record and archive live events into an easily searchable content library.
  • Has a “Stay Registered” feature, which allows participants to sign up once for an ongoing series and captures valuable emails for future marketing efforts.
  • Boasts an excellent analytics dashboard to give you insight into how your live and on-demand webinars are performing — a great opportunity to let your learnings inform your live and evergreen webinar content.

2. EverWebinar

The OG in evergreen webinar technology, EverWebinar is all about the on-demand life. If you’re looking to set it and … well, not forget it, but not be beholden either, this is the software for you.

  • EverWebinar allows users to schedule their webinars to play at set intervals throughout the day, week, or month. This has the double benefit of mimicking the live experience (which does tend to get higher engagement). It also lets your marketing team run tests as to what time of day is best for your audience.
  • A list of unique features makes it easy to drive home the “live” illusion and cut back on the stress of managing a big roster of scheduled webinars. Options like “Block dates,” which stop your webinars from playing on specific days, or “Block nighttime viewing,” which keeps your analytics from being skewed by background streaming. “Time-zone auto-detection” makes it easy to globalize your offering with the click of a button.
  • A bonus for super-users: if you’re looking for a platform to help you organize your collection of recorded webinars, EverWebinar and WebinarJam are designed to function together. *Insert handshake emoji*

3. WebinarGeek

A great option for a company new to the webinar game, WebinarGeek is a simple software that makes it easy to host and record live webinars and turn them into a library of evergreen, on-demand content.

Along with standard features like customizable waiting rooms and robust analytics, we also love:

  • WebinarGeek’s intuitive interface: It’s easy for someone brand new to the webinar world to orient themselves in the WebinarGeek platform.
  • The monthly pricing plan, making this option accessible for businesses looking to explore the webinar space without a deep financial commitment.
  • The pre-record function makes it simple to test presentations, rehearse with multiple presenters, and explore other features. Pre-recording your webinar also leaves you with a “clean” version to upload as your evergreen content.

Build an evergreen webinar funnel with these top tools.

As we all get more literate in live and on-demand educational content, the need for simple and sleek webinar platforms will continue to grow.

By determining your needs early and taking the time to test various platforms, your team will be ready to educate, inspire, and get a better understanding of your customer base so you can help them make great decisions.

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Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.hubspot.com