by Katie L | Mar 7, 2019 | Business Essentials, Facebook, Marketing
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been blogging about Facebook Ads. Each day, the average Facebook user spends 35 minutes on the platform. So how can the average mom and pop shop leverage this? While posting regularly is crucial, utilizing Facebook ads can also get more customers through your doors. Since we’ve already cover the why (why you should use FB ads) and the how (how to actually create the ad). Today, we will touch on what your ad should contain. While there is so, so much that can be written on this topic, we know that busy entrepreneurs are looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, so here it is.
Here are four key components to what your Facebook Ad should include:
- Relevancy: Relevancy means that you have targeted the right people with your ad. You want to target your ad to your “ideal customer”. If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, this article is a great place to start. For instance, you probably aren’t going to advertise an upcoming ballet performance to men interested in monster trucks. It’s not to say someone can’t like both, but you will probably be wasting your advertising dollars. Take some time to think about who your target audience is and then utilize this audience on Facebook. You want your ad for your product to be relevant to the people who will see it (hence the name relevancy). In fact, Facebook gives you a relevancy score. So, think about your ideal customer and target your ad to that person. The great thing about FB is that you can see how your ad performed and then adjust your audience accordingly the next time around.
- Appearance: Visually appealing Facebook Ads get more clicks (because who wants a closer look at something that is ugly?). There are several free options to create great looking ads. Canva is one of our favorites. If you are in need of photos, Unsplash is another great (and free) resource. There are several resources available to create great looking ads with little time or money. Since, appealing ads are more likely to be shared and remembered, it’s important to make sure you don’t skip this step. Looking for some tips to create great looking ads? You can find some here.
- Value Proposition: What exactly are you offering and why should someone buy it/learn more/set foot in your store? Basically, if someone is your ideal customer why should he or she buy from you and not your competitor? For instance, you may not own the biggest home improvement store in town, but you may own the most helpful. Your value proposition could be something like this, “Home improvement products without the headaches,” “Personalized service for your Saturday project,” or in the words of Ace Hardware “The Helpful Place”. If I’ve got a complicated project, I don’t want to be scouring a big box store for the right size bolt. I want to be able to ask someone (or even call ahead) and have the part I need within minutes. If that’s your competitive edge, then let your potential customers know it.
- Call to Action: What action should an interested person take? Should they contact you, visit your website, message you for more information? Your call to action will vary based on your business. Taking the hardware example from above, you could either use “learn more” to drive traffic to your website, or even “contact us” to get your project started. Whatever you do, don’t forget the CTA. A call to action motivates a person to take action and gives specific steps on what action to take.
There you have it. Four items every Facebook ad should have. While it may seem a bit daunting for a busy entrepreneur, taking time to implement these four items will ensure that your advertising, both online and offline, gives you the best return on investment.
by Katie L | Mar 1, 2019 | Business Essentials, Web Design
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with some clients to spice up their resumes. That got us thinking. When an employer looks at resumes, what causes one go into the yes pile, while others go into the no? In order to answer this question, we did a little research and reached out to employers from South Dakota, to Minnesota, to Ohio. These employers gave some general advice, and some advice specifically for ministry related jobs. Here’s what they said below:
- Highlight what you’ve done. Don’t just regurgitate your job description. How have you excelled at it? Maybe you’ve found a way for your organization to save money by switching suppliers. Say that. Don’t just put, “Ordered supplies,” but rather, “Saved the organization 20% on paper by switching to Dunder Mifflin.” If you were a employer, who would you want to hire?
- While education is important, people care a lot more about what you’ve done than what you’ve learned. Unless you have little to no work experience, keep your degrees for the end of your resume. Employers across the board wanted to know what you would do in the position, how you will advance the organization, not just what you’ve learned. Show them what you’ve done in your past or current positions so they know that you will do great things for them in the future.
- Follow the application instructions and if possible, go above and beyond. One employer specifically mentioned a major job posting site. Candidates have the opportunity to fill out a profile and upload their resume as a PDF. However, some seekers simply used a cut and paste feature and put their resume info into a box instead of uploading it. This meant that the employer had to format resumes, which didn’t always happen. Follow the directions thoroughly.
- When in doubt (or if not otherwise noted), use a PDF format! Not every computer has Microsoft Word and not everyone uses Google Docs. PDF is a universal format that all computers can read. Neglecting to do this may mean that your resume doesn’t get seen.
- Longevity and stats do matter (even in the ministry). Jumping jobs year after year, or simply completing your job’s minimum requirements doesn’t make you stand out as a candidate. If you want your dream job, you’ve got to put in the time and the work.
- Use action verbs. Did you write a policy or did you spearhead the creation and implementation of it? One sounds a lot stronger than the other. Of course, be honest. However, through our research we found that people went one of two ways. Either they embellished their accomplishments with action verbs, or they didn’t give themselves enough credit. Take an honest look at what you did and use words that match that. By the way, here’s a great list of verbs to get you started.
- And finally… it’s probably a good idea to make changes to your resume for each job you are applying for. Canvassing employers with a generic resume will probably land yours in the trash.
- Use PDF if no other format is specified. (Do you see a theme here?)
- Consider sticking to black and white. While color can give it a nice pop (and is expected in some fields), some employers print resumes. Churches are especially known to do this since they are often distributing resumes to several committee members. Chances are, they aren’t going to print it in color. Black and white (or grayscale) is always a safe bet.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. You may have an employer who doesn’t care if you have a typo, but do you really want to chance it?
- Keep it clean, use easy to read fonts and do not make your font so small that someone can’t read it. (We’ve all been tempted to do this so that we can fit as much as possible in thanks to our last piece of advice).
- Last, stick to two pages. Your resume shouldn’t be more than two pages long. That means you may have to condense or cut things, but if you were looking at 20-30 resumes at a time, you probably aren’t going to flip through ten pages.
Hopefully, our research will give you a leg up on your job hunt and help you get an interview. Here’s to landing your dream job!
Do you have any job hunting tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below to share.
by Katie L | Feb 19, 2019 | Facebook, Marketing
Last week, we talked about Why Facebook Ads are Worth Your Time. Now that we know the why, we need to chat about the how (how do we actually run an ad), what (what should we write, what graphics should we use) and when (when should we run the ad).
This week, we will address the how. How do we actually run an ad? Although this may seem like a no brainer, running an actual ad (as opposed to just boosting a post) can be a bit intimidating. No worries. We’re here to break it down for you.
Step 1: Go to https://www.facebook.com/business/
Step 2: Select the Create an Ad button on the top right corner.
Step 3: Choose your Objective. If you aren’t sure what to choose, you can hover over each option and an explanation will be given. If you are looking for a further explanation, or need help choosing an objective, contact us!
Step 4: Decide whether you want to run ad or more than one. You can find this option under the objectives. In the past we’ve done one, two and three ads. Running more than one ad allowed us to learn what works best. Our ads had different images. However, you can use the same image, but test different wording, including a different call to action. For simplicity sake in this post, we will choose one ad. You will want to leave A/B testing and Budget Optimization as is, give your campaign a name and select continue.
Step 5: Depending on what you chose for your objective, this step may look a bit different, but the basics are the same. You will want to give your ad set a name, choose where you want your traffic to go (if applicable), etc.
Step 6: Choose your Audience. This is the same, no matter what objective you chose. Facebook allows you to become very targeted with your audience. They even give you a handy dandy meter so that you know if your audience is too broad or too narrow. Your target audience will depend on your goals, but we love that we have control over who sees our ad and who doesn’t.
Steps 7 & 8: Choose placements and budget. We recommend editing your placements and deselecting right hand column and marketplace (unless applicable). Finally, choose your budget and select continue.
Step 9: This is where you actually create your ad. Enter your content, upload your graphic and select confirm.
This is a very simplified step by step guide, but a great place to start. For as little as $20, you can create an ad that is seen by thousands of people. Creating Facebook ads that convert is a marathon, not a sprint, but well worth learning. Each time you run an ad, you are able to see how it performs and then make adjustments for future ads. As always, if you get stuck, we’re here to help!
by Katie L | Feb 7, 2019 | Marketing
With over 2 billion users, Facebook is a cornerstone of communication. However, many mom and pop shops, especially in rural communities, refuse to embrace this new style of communicating. While leveraging this form of advertising can be a bit daunting, taking the time to learn (or spending the money to hire someone to learn), can give you a return on your investment. In the next few weeks, we will walk you through the Facebook ads process, but today, we’ll take a few minutes to discuss why it’s worth your time and money.
Before we begin, let’s chat about who uses FB and who doesn’t. The world of social media advertising can be a bit daunting, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. Every business, big or small, has to have some form of advertising. While there are several social media platforms, we recommend picking one to get started. Run an ad, test the results, adjust and do it again. Facebook is a great place for a rural small town business to start for several reasons.
- Facebook is most likely where your consumers are. According to Pew research, almost 2/3 of America adults are on Facebook. 29% use Facebook every day at work (much to their bosses chagrin). If you are looking to target the average American adult, FB is a great place to start.
- They are inexpensive. We recently ran a Facebook ad for a client who leads fitness classes. Since we are just starting out in the FB adversing world, we followed the experts advice and kept our budget small. For $20, we were able to target women ages 24-65 in a typical midwestern small town. As a result, we received 81 link clicks (that means 81 people wanted to learn more), and almost 3,000 people had the ad appear on their screen. While our conversion rate isn’t what we’d like it to be (yep, still learning), we can’t think of any other advertising way in which a simple $20 bill result in 81 people taking a closer look at a product. Plus, our client gained some new page likes. Even at it’s worst, for small towns businesses, FB ads still pay.
- It’s relatively easy to target who you want to target. Facebook ads allow you to target your ad to people based on geography, age, gender, interests and more.
Will Facebook ads solve all of your marketing problems? Of course not. However, as social media use continues to rise, business owners need to embrace the trend to not only thrive, but to stay afloat.
Not sure where to get started with FB ads, but not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Contact us to learn about how you can grow your business through ads.
by Katie L | Jan 18, 2019 | Leadership
Last August, I was appointed to the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force (that’s a mouthful!). The purpose of the task for is simple; to ensure that ALL Iowans have access to fast, reliable internet. It’s no easy feat, especially since there currently isn’t a reliable data to pinpoint who is and isn’t connected. However, just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary.
While I could drive home the importance of the internet, tell you why it’s important to have access to it (education, healthcare, business are just a few reasons), I think we all know that internet access is vital for a healthy, growing community. So instead of rehashing the same arguments over and over, I’d like to share a different perspective. My experience with this task force is so much more than a mere lesson on connectivity. Rather, it’s been a lesson on leadership. Working alongside some of Iowa’s most talented, has been a privilege AND a learning experience. Here are just a few of my observations.
– You don’t know all the answers. It’s easy in leadership roles, whether at work, at home, in church or in our community, to think that we have all the answers or to be afraid to admit when we don’t. In a recent conversation with Governor Reynolds, she admitted that she didn’t know something about Facebook analytics. But, that struck me. The leader of the number one state in U.S. isn’t an expert in everything and doesn’t pretend to be. Perhaps that’s why we’re number one.
-Take a risk. By far, every time I attend a meeting, I feel like I am dumbest person in the room. I’m not just saying that either. The room is filled with extremely intelligent go getters who are changing their communities for the better. But, last July, exhausted after a quick trip to Canada, I stayed late at work one night and filled out an application for this task force. I didn’t think I had a chance at being selected, but for some crazy reason, I was. I took a risk and put myself out there, which isn’t always an easy thing for us MidWesterners to do. But, sometimes, smart risks pay off. I’m guessing that at some point, each person in that room has had to risk hearing a no. Whether it was running for office, starting a company, applying for a job, at some point, each person there risked rejection. One of my observations about rural Iowa is that we spend way too much time worry about what others think. We work hard to stay out of the spotlight. Sometimes it’s because we are humble, but often it’s because we don’t want to become the center of gossip. Sadly, this leads to communities where people don’t stand up for it is right and don’t live up to their potential. I’ve learned that calculated risk is always worth it in the end.
-Give someone else a hand up. At every task force meeting, there is usually some time to network. Looking around the room, hearing bits and pieces of conversations, the same thing occurs each and every time. Someone helping someone else. Whether it’s sharing their expertise in a certain area, or chatting about how to improve one’s rural town, someone is always extending a hand of help. Before our last meeting, I was lucky enough to have lunch with Danna Larson, CEO of Rural Revival. Her willingness to take the time to meet with me and to give me some free advice has helped launch my business to a new level. Although I’m still not where I want to be, it’s the Danna’s of the world that will help me get there. My job is to find another person, extend reach out and extend my hand of help. Which brings me to my next point.
– Keep moving forward. It’s easy to stop because we’re number one or because you found the solution. But, as a group, we have collectivity decided that we cannot just concern ourselves with connecting rural Iowa today, we need to look at have upload and download speeds for tomorrow. Bare minimums aren’t good enough. What if this attitude permeated our communities? You can be proud of who you are and what you are doing, while still working to improve. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Rural Iowa is a great place to live and work. But maybe, just maybe, we can become even better.
There you have it! Just a few lessons learned from my experience serving on the Empower Rural Iowa Connecting Task Force. I am honored to be a part such a great initiative, and I am even more honored to call rural Iowa home.