Thursday, May 25, 2017

matching your efforts and your desired viewers

I have my Captain Obvious hat on again today, but the notion is one I keep tripping over, so maybe it'll do you some good too. In the digital marketing ecosystem I roll around in, I've been working my way into Facebook Ads. As with any new 'thing' I like seeing what others are doing. As usual, the pics that form the bulk of a Facebook Ad are all stock photos of the typical young techie looking model, in front of a perfect looking office background. As an aside, once again I ask why is this? In my observations, the answer seems to be that no one has the 'tripod/camera/background/Photoshop' thing mastered to the extent that they can roll their own imagery quickly enough to use. Or they don't like how they look, thus feeding the beast of perfection. Don't feed that beast. Be real. So stock pics are next best. Or nothing. Back to the main point: The people that you want to persuade to consume your service or buy your product - are they in the ecosystem that also contains your content, in this case the 'Facebook ad'? This brings up the question - 'who are your people?' Keep it human. It's easy to fall into the trap of 'demographics' or 'average user', or something analytic. To some extent they are valid, but I think the best test is rational. Come up with 3-4 use cases and see if your content, e.g. that Facebook ad, passes the 'sanity test' (sorry about all the single quotes by the way). For example, can you see your Mom (mine is 75 and a tiny bit computer literate) on Facebook, viewing content and doing "stuff' that inspires a view of your ad? More to the point - I have a large industrial client. My contact there, pulled out large chunks of his own hair earlier this spring, getting ready for a press release. Yes, a tried and true press release, the kind of stuff that no one reads anymore. Except his B2B demographic in the industrial vertical his company is in, STILL USES them. They still read trade magazines printed on paper and mailed to people at their work, not their home. Press releases still show up in those trade rags. That is a valid use case. Not everyone is young, good looking and living online. I would bet about NONE of my client's clients (remember this is B2B) are on Facebook in their work persona. So my trying to pitch a Facebook ad to this industrial client likely would result in very little. There's no understandable fit. I'm trying to convince him to find Bigfoot in Manhattan and not along the Trinity river. I have another client that sells custom made wood paddleboard paddles. First, this is a B2C play, so already the fit is MUCH better, since Facebook is a much stronger B2C ecosystem than it is a B2B place. Digging deeper, is a paddler man or woman? Young or old? The use case thing for this paddle purchase gets much more granular real fast, and leads to a more complex view of just WHO will see a Facebook ad for this paddle making client. The point though, is that Facebook users can reasonably be seen as canoe and SUP paddlers. So Facebook ads for this client are a much better fit than they are for the above industrial client. It's not a perfect analysis, but the point is that a Facebook ad could work for a SUP paddler whereas a Facebook ad would largely fail and be wasted on something that is largely industrial (maybe even old school). So in one setting my efforts do not reasonably match the expected demographics of my viewers and in another case they match well enough to warrant spending some money on those FB ads. 'nuff said campers. PS - if you are ever in northern California, the Trinity river is a gorgeous spot. Pretty remote too.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Marketing Starts with Content

A blank screen stares back at me this morning, much like a blank new year awaits. Time rolls on! Speaking of blank screens - an enduring issue I see when I stick my head into the SMB world that my clients inhabit is lack of content - one of the toughest kinds of blank screens. How to fix this? Quite often, the longer the question lasts, the easier the answer tends to be - Most often the first answer is - get a camera and USE IT. Online marketing is reliant on images, and images can be surprisingly hard to come by. This brings up a second answer. Develop a simple version 1 strategy in order to have a guide for using that camera. It doesn't need to be rocket science. Third answer - keep it real. Include real faces, real hands and real places. Try and keep your light source behind you, but other than that let'er rip. The beauty of digital cameras is that images are cheap. Take alot. Think about each one if time allows for some basic composition, but otherwise hit that shutter button! I had one client who always took pictures of roofing projects. One shot was always the 'before' because that was part of making the bid. Once I saw a few of those 'before' shots, it was easy to then add an 'after' shot. The same sales rep was always at the initial meeting and the followup signoff, so the same camera, same photographer and same setting were fairly easy to do. The hardest part was remembering to take the 'after' shot. For that client, pairs of images documenting the change was simple and effective when it came to showing what my client's company did - roofing, siding and windows. It's not all and only images, but they do play a critical role. When it comes to making impressions, building trust, and capturing attention, good imagery captures the eye early on in the 'process'. With eyes captured, effective writing then has a chance to further capture attention and build trust. The reading and hearing brain is the most critical builder of trust and making judgment, but your efforts rarely get that far without good imagery to initially capture attention.