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How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

 

Advertising as a small business is daunting. Where do you start? Do you have a budget? Who is your target market, and how are you targeting them? Massive corporations like Nike or Verizon can spend millions of dollars on TV and web ads, but you don’t need all of that to be successful. Marketing for your business is challenging, but you have options for any budget.

Marketing has changed over the past decades. Billboards were the end all be all of advertising once upon a time. While they still dot the interstates, advertising opened to new mediums like TV and radio. The problem was marketing on these mediums was still prohibitively expensive. Relying on word of mouth recommendations and storefront signs only go so far. 

Fast forward to the social media boom. Now small businesses have a diverse collection of options for advertising. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube…you name it, you can pay money to promote your product on it. Social media is more budget-friendly for small businesses. 

The new challenge is learning how to target your market surgically. Trying to attack the whole market is an excellent way to waste money. Identify who you want to reach, and strategize from there.

While there are several platforms to try, here are some ways to maximize your first time using Facebook ads. 

 

Strategize

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.

Just like starting a business, you need a plan. Marketing is challenging, and trying to “make it up as you go” can be devastating. Start to form a strategy focusing your message on your target audience. What is your goal? Are you trying to drive customers to your website? Or maybe you want to build an email list. 

Build a timeline for your strategy. Decide when to launch or if you want multiple launches based on your campaign. Knowing the browsing habits of your demographic can make or break your plan as much as anything else. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that can help define browsing activity.

 

Know Your Market

Who are you targeting? This should be the first question you answer when you start. The next question should be ‘why?’ We talked about not trying to attack the entire market. Market researchers exist specifically to give you data on various demographics. Whatever you need to know, chances are they have the data. You know your product better than anyone. You also know who is buying it. 

With Facebook, you can create highly targeted ads focused solely on your market. Be as broad or as surgical as you want. Pick through different keywords and age groups to narrow the crowd, and tailor your content accordingly.

 

Set a Budget

A few months ago, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Social by Steph’s Stephanie Smith to go into a little more detail about Facebook ads. She let us in on a few trade secrets like never hitting the “boost” button. It’s designed to convince you that spending $5 more will help reach more people, but really, $5 won’t do much either way. 

Why? 

Nickel and dining your way through a marketing campaign is a waste of money. Thinking that reaching tens of thousands of people by spending $15 on Facebook couldn’t be more incorrect. Don’t get us wrong, traffic is traffic, but you want the right people. You can expect to spend at least $30-$50 per day. You’ll have a much better chance of reaching the right audience. 

The moral of the story is if this is out of your budget right now, you need to save until you can contribute between $500-$700 per month. Otherwise, you are spending money and not accomplishing much. 

 

Set a Timeline

Setting a timeline can be tricky since you are trying to balance your budget with your marketing goals. Your marketing plan should consider campaign duration, but you need to set a distinct timeline to keep yourself from overreaching. When you start to see success with an ad campaign, the temptation to keep rolling forward is intense, but remember, you have a budget. Stick to it!

 

A/B Testing

No one is perfect. Your first ad campaign won’t be perfect either. However, you can do something called A/B Testing. A/B Testing is a process of showing two variants of an ad to different audiences and seeing which drives more clicks or conversions. In your case, different variants might be writing other text or using a different image. If you’re making a video, you could try different voiceover scripts or narration. 

The goal is to create two different ads with the exact same narrative. A/B Testing is invaluable as you begin a marketing campaign because you can try out different versions before committing your whole budget. The good news is that you don’t need an enormous sample size to figure out which ad tests better, so don’t worry about blowing your money on an ineffective ad. Start small with each version, see which performs better, and then put everything behind the more successful 

 

Learn

Learning from what works is essential. Learning from what doesn’t work is vital. Try using key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your success (or lack thereof). KPIs are invaluable and used across every industry. When starting your campaign, have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Do you want 30k more page visits? Create benchmarks at specific times for 5k, 10k, and so on to monitor your progress. If you’re not hitting your KPIs, learn from your opportunities, and improve. 

Your first time using a Facebook ad may be discouraging if you go in shooting for the moon. It’s ok to be ambitious, but set realistic expectations. Sit back and watch your campaign unfold, and most importantly, learn everything you can about where it’s useful and where it’s not.

 

Commit

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Many first, second, or even third attempts with a marketing campaign can fail miserably, but don’t be discouraged! Learn from what went wrong, and go into your next shot with a better plan. You need to commit, though. We talked about the pitfalls of trying to nickel and dime the system, so go all-in when you go in. 

It feels risky to sink a large amount of money into advertising, but remember, advertising exists on nearly all platforms because it produces results. Commit to your strategy and your timeline. Commit to your budget, and commit to making a successful campaign. That’s the only way to be successful. 

 

Marketing on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most budget-friendly advertising platforms available. We recommend it due to the pinpoint market segments you can target and the ease of use. Ad campaigns are challenging, so choosing a platform that’s easy to use will help immensely. 

Luckily, Facebook provides some guidance as you go about creating your ad(s), so you’re not lost in the weeds. But at the same time, you need to create an engaging ad or watch your money disappear. Do your research, make a plan, set a budget, monitor your KPIs, and commit to the process. Facebook can help to a point, but being successful is up to you.

 

You’re not alone, though. Small businesses need help all over the place, not just marketing. Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite with everything you need to be successful. Start your free trial to see why Shamrck is right for your business.

 

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9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

Every year, thousands of small businesses open, and thousands of small businesses fail. Building a successful business is much more challenging than most people imagine. Without doing the right research, people have no idea how much work goes into every facet of a business. From marketing to overhead to employees, running a company can consume every bit of your time. 

The challenge is daunting but not impossible. For every business that fails, another thrives. The question is, how can you make sure yours is the latter?

We want to only look at the fun sides of operations. You make your schedule and all the decisions. Every new sale or new customer feels like a cause for champagne. Success means watching the company bank account grow. 

However, we need to have perspective. How are you protecting yourself legally? You need to know exactly how much money you’re making, as well as how much you’re making. Are you innovating? Your competitors are. What is your strategy for customer retention? Launching a company is more than having a good idea. It’s a living being that requires your attention or else it won’t last.

Here are nine reasons why small businesses fail.

1. The Market Is Too Small

Finding a niche is one thing. Being too narrow is destructive. Markets can dry up with any shift in the economy or unforeseen circumstances. Your company can’t be so focused that it shuts down if one segment of the market disappears. No one can see the future, but you can plan for it. 

By making sure you stay agile and versatile, you guarantee that you can weather any storms (as best you can). Businesses need to find identifiable segments of the market to target and be broad enough to appeal to all of them. If one segment shifts, you need to be ready to move to another. Just like we’ll talk about later, market targeting comes down to research.

2. Bad Management

Being a successful manager is challenging under any circumstances. Managing every aspect of your business, including hiring and managing employees, presents an incredibly difficult challenge. Many business owners are not familiar with managing purchasing, bookkeeping, employment, office space, and everything else. We always want to think a good manager is good at delegation, but that’s not always true. 

Delegating tasks to the wrong people can run your business into the ground faster than anything you can do on your own. The most critical problem facing business owners is identifying when their employees are making poor decisions. Unfortunately, sinking everything you have into your business means there’s not much of a learning curve. You either sink or swim. That added pressure means putting proper management at the forefront of your business plan. Will you manage everything yourself? Are there ways to outsource some of your tasks? Where are the opportunities to protect yourself?

Worse than poor delegation is merely a dereliction of duty. Getting spread too thin and overlooking vital operations can also destroy your business, possibly before you even start. Be sure you are up to the challenge, and when it does become time to hire employees to help, be a good leader. Inspire your employees to do their best work, and take advantage of excellent staff.

3. Opening For The Wrong Reasons

Write down the reasons you want to open a new business. Is it just to make your own hours or be your own boss? Do you just think it’s an excellent way to make money? Discover the “why” buried deep within your business plan. If you can’t identify a reason you’re passionate about, the chances your business will succeed sink. You need a passion for what you do, or you can become bored or disinterested, and the company will fail.

Ask yourself some simple questions.

-Why do you want to open a business?

-Where do your passions come from?

-Are you driven enough to put in the hours?

-Can you learn from your mistakes and improve?

-Are you determined to make this company successful?

When you feel confident that your answers point in the right direction, you’ll be ready to start a successful business.

4. Not Enough Money

Not only does starting a business require a lot of time and effort, but it also requires a lot of capital. Many companies can’t make ends meet only a short time after they open. Poor planning is typically to blame, so remember to budget for all of your needs.

Make fundraising a core component of your business plan. Remember, there are options for capital other than your wallet. Investment firms, banks, and Small Business Association (SBA) loans are all alternatives to investing everything you have. 

Start with consultations. Many small business owners don’t fully understand all of the costs involved in opening and maintaining a business. If you’re unsure about what to expect, try the SBA startup calculator. Not planning for all expenses can be devastating. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

5. No Business Plan

Speaking of setting yourself up for failure, make a plan! You need a business plan. Dedication and hard work only go so far. This opportunity is where you flesh out all the details of your launch. If you don’t know where to start, you can find samples and templates all over the internet. You’ll need some guidance, but ultimately, you need to do the research and fill out the details. 

Here are some key elements to include.

-A Mission Statement: What does your business do, and what are your goals?

-Market Analysis: Identify challenges and opportunities within your target market.

-Competitive Analysis: Who are your competitors? What can you offer that they don’t?

-Finances: How much startup capital do you need? List all financial information, including all costs and expected income. 

-Remember to include everything from infrastructure to taxes to marketing.

Budget: After you list your financial details, create a budget accounting for everything, and always try to be conservative with your expectations.

Business plans need to be extensive. You need to address every detail of your business launch and operations, or you may be setting yourself up for failure.

6. Marketing

Obviously, web-based businesses require a detailed, well-designed website, but every business needs an online presence in today’s market. Websites are a necessity, and a poorly designed site can make your business look unprofessional. Marketing starts with creating an attractive website that engages customers. 

Step two is getting customers to visit your website. This step is where social media is essential. You may be able to get by without a social media presence, but you’re already behind your competitors. The great thing about social media is the price tag. You can create accounts on almost any social media platform for free, and millions of people traffic Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter daily. Each one is an opportunity.

Another critical aspect of social media is the paid advertising side. Yes, accounts are free, but directing customers to your social media accounts can be challenging to do organically. Facebook and Twitter offer reasonable prices to help you reach thousands of people. 

Without some marketing modicum, your business can stay invisible and fail before you have a chance to be successful.

7. Too Much Ambition

Typically, ambition is a virtue in the business world, but you can quickly outgrow your budget and over-extend yourself. Slow and steady growth is the key to success. An extremely memorable example is the Borders Bookstore franchise. By wildly expanding in the ’90s and 2000s, Borders failed to plan for a future being shaped by online stores. By the time online retailers like Amazon took over the market’s lion share, Borders was stretched too thin to survive. They declared bankruptcy in 2011.

Their biggest fault was equating growth with success. The ability to expand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to do so. Remember your business plan. Hopefully, you included five and ten-year outlooks to try to foresee potential challenges. This kind of planning helps you be more conservative before deciding to expand too much. You want your small business to grow into a large company. Just don’t get too impatient!

8. Customer Diversification

Having a cornerstone customer is excellent, but relying too much on one customer is risky. We discussed making sure you can reach different segments of the market. You need to diversify your customer base so that you can absorb any large-scale losses. Try to go after a smaller market along with targeting “whales.” The diversity will help you be more agile if you lose one of your more substantial income streams.

9. Stubbornness

Many small business owners are set in their ways. They’re experts in their field and want to build a business on what they know. It makes sense. Stick with what you know. 

But are you ready to change with the times?

Many businesses fail because they’re unable or unwilling to pivot to fit the changing market. Understanding the business world isn’t the same as 30 or 20 or even ten years ago is critical to your success. You need to be flexible. Adopt new software that can help with operations. Get past the notion that you can’t teach a dog new tricks. Learn from your competition, and study the market. Getting complacent because “your way is the best way” is a sure-fire way to put your business in danger. 

Summary

Opening a successful small business is much more challenging than most people expect. The level of dedication, commitment, and planning that goes into just the launch is daunting. Before you decide to go down the incredibly difficult road of small business ownership, remember why you want to do it. There are many reasons why companies can fail. Staying vigilant and keeping focused is the best way to increase your odds of success. 

Plan thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s a world of resources available to you. Use them. 

Using a sales and marketing platform like Shamrck is invaluable for consolidating your tools and making you more efficient. Small business owners need to save time everywhere possible. Start your free trial with Shamrck to learn how we can help your business succeed. 

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5 Reasons Your Website Needs a Blog

5 Reasons Your Website Needs a Blog

5 Reasons Your Website Needs a Blog

 

Why do company websites maintain a blog? Online stores shouldn’t need to write articles about clothes to get customers to buy a shirt. How can writing blog posts help a restaurant chain drive more business? The truth is every industry is constantly changing. Cooking trends update frequently, and the content needs to keep with the times.

 

Blogs are an online series of pages with articles. As opposed to academic articles, blogs tend to be much more informal and conversational. They typically run 800-1,000 and can cover almost any topic. These online articles allow the writers, or bloggers, to use a comfortable writing style to convey information about their business, industry, or everyday life. 

 

For businesses, writing blog posts serve several purposes. Websites are no longer optional for companies. Businesses, large and small, maintain blog posts in addition to the more traditional elements of a website. We’ll talk about why your website needs a blog, and what it can do for your business. 

 

Here are five reasons you need to start a blog immediately.

 

SEO

 

One of the most heavily weighted search algorithms revolves around fresh, relevant content. For SEO, a popular blog is essential. Search engines like Google use a series of query algorithms to rank websites. The results aren’t usually turning up articles from 15 years ago. We need to see the most recent information available. Search engines prioritize keywords and phrases, so writing new content isn’t always enough. We need to be specific.

 

Another tactic we need to consider for SEO purposes is volume. We need to flood the web with keyword dense content. Remember, search engines look for fresh content, so active websites are more likely to perform well in searches. Write with a focus on the exact topic you think will attract traffic and new business. This method will help you write several pieces with a similar concept, so you begin to grow your optimization organically.

 

Show your expertise

 

Blogs are a phenomenal way to increase organic SEO, but additionally, blog posts are an opportunity to show off your knowledge of the industry. Most people don’t want to learn biology from a historian. We want an authority in the field. A regularly updated blog is how you prove you are the expert. Industries change and progress every day. You need to show you’re keeping up and that customers can trust your expertise.

 

Connect with your customers

 

Since blog posts follow a conversational tone, you can be a little more informal. Academic articles feel stuffy and unrelatable, but blogs can convey the same level of information in a much more readable way. Writing in a conversational style helps your readers connect with you and put a personality to the words instead of only a name.

 

Connecting with your customers carries another benefit, repeat traffic. When you write excellent content that engages readers, they tend to come back for more. That effect keeps them on your site longer and more likely to convert from reader to customer. Repeat traffic is a gold mine. Don’t overlook it!

 

Targeting

 

Choosing your topics can be tricky. How do you know what to write about? The main question to answer is who your target demographic is. Unless you run a very niche market, you’ll probably have several demographics. The goal is to write each post with one demographic in mind.

 

Imagine running a culinary website. New and creative recipes pop up every day, but really, everyone is making a variation of an old dish. What brings in the traffic for your site is your blog content. You can tell stories of how you came up with recipes. Hunting for bakers? Write about your first baking experience, what you learned, how to bake your dish, and where to buy your cookbook. You connected with bakers, in particular, shared your recipe, and sold your product. Win-win-win!

 

While that example is for a cooking site, the same recipe (get it?) applies to any field. Determine who you want to reach and write directly to that group.

 

Helps build your email list

 

First, if you don’t have an email list of customers and potential customers, stop reading now and get started on one. Email lists are crucial for everything from announcing giveaways to providing business advice to just flat making sure people know you’re still there. Regular email blasts are also a great way to refer old visitors back to your website with links to new posts or announcements. 

 

Blog posts can help build that email list. Websites use various ways to gather email information, but one of the most popular ways is requiring visitors to sign up for a newsletter to continue reading a post. We also use pop-ups or a good old-fashioned invitation to subscribe at the bottom of the page. No matter what method you use, the crucial ingredient is excellent content. People will only want to sign up if they look forward to reading more of your work.

 

Summary

 

Blog posts are not only an essential part of a modern business website, but they can also be fun! Connecting with a targeted demographic of potential customers to write content regularly is excellent for you and your team too. Blogging is an outlet to show what you know and write with your own voice. The benefit of organic SEO growth is a by-product of a quality blog. 

 

If you don’t know where to start, visit some other websites utilizing regular blog posts (like this one!) in your field and see how they’re approaching the task. You know your business and your industry better than most. Pick a topic and start writing!

 

Still not sure where to get started? Or, maybe you just need a little guidance. Schedule an appointment with experts at WPClover for a one-to-one conversation on starting a blog or some tips and tricks on improving.

 

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How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

 

Interview with Digital Insomnia’s Stephanie Smith

 

This week we’re very excited to sit down with Stephanie Smith of Digital Insomnia. Stephanie is the founder and Chief Insomniac at Digital Insomnia, an Atlanta-based consulting firm offering social and digital advertising help to small and medium-sized businesses. 

 

How did Digital Insomnia get its start?

I started my career at a startup called BLiNQ Media, which was one of Facebook’s first API partners. I’ve been doing Facebook ads since before there was a platform to manage them; I would have to build ads piece by piece manually. I was at that company for almost four years; it’s been my favorite experience, but I digress. After I left there, I became the “millennial job hopper,” averaging ten months at a company. I was looking for that same contentment I had at BLiNQ but couldn’t find it. Eventually, I realized I had to create it for myself. I was already doing some side hustle work helping friends and old colleagues. I noticed a gap in the market where there were businesses that had budgets to run campaigns but not enough to hire an agency that I would typically work for. I created Digital Insomnia to service those businesses by bringing my agency and Fortune 500 experience to their pockets. As of late, I noticed another gap of entrepreneurs working on even tighter budgets but still needing the knowledge to move their businesses in the right direction, so I started teaching what I know. I host workshops ranging from 15 to 250 people, I’ve taught classes, and I just launched my online course teaching everything you need to launch and manage an ads campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

So you found a calling and decided it was time to turn that calling into a company helping businesses with advertising needs but not the right resources. It sounds like a perfect match! Thank you so much for hanging out with us to talk a little more about social and digital advertising. We were hoping to focus specifically on how to leverage Facebook ads.

What are the benefits of using Facebook for an ad campaign? Why not other social media platforms?

Well, to be honest with you, Facebook isn’t the end all be all. It’s really about the nature of your business and where your audience is. It’s essential to understand the behaviors of your audience, so you know where to find them and speak to them. For example, if your customers are younger, they probably aren’t on Facebook. However, the buying power is substantial on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Facebook is a go-to in the strategies that I put together because they have the most active users, and their tools/features are the most robust. I can find the right audience and do some cool stuff to impress them at the same time that some other platforms are lacking.

 

In that case, a business looking to leverage Facebook ads will love the robust tools and an active audience, but how can we make sure the right people see our advertisements?

Well, first, you need to know who the right people are. Identifying your audience as an entrepreneur or business owner is crucial to the success of a campaign. When I teach people how to strategize and manage their own ads campaigns, we start with creating ideal customer personas, at least three. At that point, you can create audience categories based on the details within those personas. You then allow those categories to guide you when building your audiences on the platform.

 

Three personas. That’s a great way to view creating a target demographic and paints a clear image of what a business needs. Identifying the right audience is one of the biggest challenges next to figuring out the right budget. On that note, is Facebook good for a business on a budget?

Absolutely. But you can’t nickel and dime the system. Trying to spend $5-10 per day won’t get you any results; just take that money and go to lunch instead. If you are working on a tight budget, then you need to plan. Save money until you can contribute at least $500-750 per month. With a tight budget, make sure to get a niche for your audience. Don’t try to spend $500 with an audience size of 20 million; it’s like getting nosebleeds seats and yelling at the QB.

 

In March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit American businesses hard. How should global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic affect our strategies?

Typically with natural disasters or even mass shootings, the recommendation is to shut off ads for a while to allow the news to blow over. However, this is different. Right now, people are on their screens more than ever, and brands should be taking advantage of this time. It’s not insensitive to be advertising right now. Especially as a small business, you will need this just to survive. No one wants to see a small business die during a time like this, so people are still supporting their favorite brands. Don’t suffer in silence; use ads to share your story and let your audience know that supporting right now is keeping a small business alive. 

 

As much as we hate to accept these kinds of things do happen, it’s good to have a plan in place. Sometimes, changing up a strategy or creating a brand new one is the right option. Thinking about the bigger picture is tough, but making sure your audience knows you’re a small business needing support is worth the money right now.

 

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone starting their first campaign on Facebook?

There are a few things:

  1. Don’t click that Boost button. Facebook designed it to spend your money quickly and not give you any real results. It will tell you that $5 will get you whatever reach. Which leads to be #2.

2. Budget to spend no less than $30-50 per day. Facebook/Instagram are pay to play platforms, so trying to nickel and dime the system will get you nowhere.

3. Learn how to use the tools properly. This may be a shameless plug, but I mentioned earlier that I created my online course to teach entrepreneurs and small business owners how to manage their own Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. Don’t waste money fumbling your way around Facebook’s platform; learn from an expert and get a 7-10x return. Interested? Socialbysteph.teachable.com

 

Nothing shameless about a little self-promotion! We know the value of creating an online course. On that note, what’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in digital media?

I really didn’t know what digital media was before I started. I randomly fell into an internship with BLiNQ. I went to Georgia Tech to be an engineer and ended up switching my major to Business Management and Marketing. Digital media was a way for me to mix my interest in marketing with my love for numbers. One thing I do appreciate with the way I started is that I learned what all the metrics and equations were before doing any real media management. I began by doing reporting in the most old-fashioned way possible and also how to tell a story from the numbers. So if I could pass advice to anyone looking to get into digital media, it’s learning the numbers first; it will help with intuition as you are managing campaigns.

 

That’s excellent advice for anyone using digital media! Well, we really appreciate your time, Stephanie. This conversation has been great for anyone learning how to leverage Facebook ads into their marketing campaigns but also for anyone using digital marketing in general. Head over to Digital Insomnia’s site to learn more about what Stephanie and her team do, so you can rethink your marketing strategy.

We’d love to chat about your website goals too! Advertising for a website doesn’t do any good if you’re missing the essentials like a fast, reliable server and relevant content. Schedule an appointment with the experts at WPClover for a website assessment and take steps toward a better site!

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Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Every business, website, non-profit, or anything else with a product needs to measure success in some form or another. Most use what are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to monitor their production over a given interval. Online, we use programs like Google Analytics or MonsterInsights. An essential factor in measuring success is the ability to be flexible. Some strategies don’t work, and that’s ok! We monitor performance for that exact reason. We want to see where the flaws are and where we can improve. Testing new methods to find more success is the bedrock of a thriving business.

The first question to ask yourself is, “what does success look like?” What are you trying to accomplish? Are you making sales? Do you want to build an email list? Having a clear, defined objective helps direct your website design, campaign strategies, etc. and launching your project is an essential first step. However, no product is perfect right out of the box, and even the best-designed plans can turn out to be duds. The point is to learn from each mistake and build off that experience moving forward.

No one said opening a business or running a website is easy. There is no auto-pilot where you can hit the “easy” button (no matter what Staples says). WPClover has tools to help every step of the way, and we want to collaborate with you to find issues and solve problems. Measuring success is the most crucial step in building a business, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Here are a few strategies to help.

Define your KPIs

Like we said earlier, KPIs are ways to measure performance over time. We want to start with a benchmark, and lay out a reasonable strategy for improvement. We will use a company website as an example. Maybe your current number of unique visits is 1,000 per month. What is a realistic growth expectation for your business on your budget? Key Performance Indicators typically use percentages as measuring sticks. Wanting to leap 1,000 visits to 2,000 visits is a 100% increase. Can you commit to a 100% increase over a specified interval? It depends on your strategy.

Most KPIs tick off several benchmarks along the way. Your overall goal may be a 100% increase in unique visits, but your strategy needs to be more granular to make this goal more achievable. Start with a timeline. Increasing your visits by 100% is a stretch, especially if you’re already getting 10,000+ visits. Try breaking it up into monthly goals where you measure success in bite-sized increments. Some website developers like here at WPClover us a strategy called Agile to break projects up into two-week “sprints” that make large projects more manageable. The same tools apply to set and achieve goals with your website.

For example, let’s say our website gets 10,000 unique visits each month at a bounce rate of 80%. We believe there is room for improvement. Our first step is to set an overall goal. We want to improve our visits to 25,000/month with a bounce rate of 60% or less. The timeline is 12 months. That means to hit our goal, we need to add 1,225 visits and reduce the bounce rate by an average of 1.7% each month. Now we have Key Performance Indicators.

Implementation

We determined what success looks like. We want a 150% growth in page views and a 25% reduction bounce rate. Our KPIs are broken down into monthly goals of 1,225 new visits and a 1.6% decrease. Without those benchmarks, we won’t know where we stand month over month until the 12-month timeline arrives, and we don’t hit our goal.

The next question is what strategies to employ to hit our numbers and how to make changes if we don’t. This task is the most challenging part of expanding your business. How do we market our business to grow on the pace we want? Do we create a marketing budget to blast out advertising campaigns? Do we shoot for organic SEO growth through fresh posts and video content? How can we mix and match different strategies? The point is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We need a starting point. We need a benchmark

Measuring Success

We already discussed using tools like Google Analytics and Monster Insights to monitor performance. We can measure each day and each visit if we want, but given our overall goal, that is a waste of time. Our focus should be on the big picture. Even week over week is not enough of a sample size to see the effects of our strategies. No marketing or advertising campaign doubled profits overnight, so we need patience. This is especially true when trying to grow organically through SEO. We have to set immediate expectations low and watch for SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) ranking increases. More than 90% of clicks come from the first page of search engines like Google.

Measuring success from ads is different. Advertisement opportunities are changing all the time. Formerly, only major companies with large budgets could afford ad campaigns, but with the advent of social media advertising, almost anyone can get started. Facebook, in particular, allows advertisers to target specific demographics and see how many clicks a post is getting organically versus how many are paid. Twitter and Pinterest work in similar ways, but all of them are affordable enough to meet small budgets.

Summary

Measuring success means comparing our strategy’s performance against our KPI goals. We can’t blindly hope our website is generating enough traffic to sell a product or build an email list. We need to monitor what is creating valuable traffic. Designing a strategy to set a goal, define key performance indicators, and assign benchmarks is a time-honored and proven plan of action. Creating that plan isn’t easy, but without it, we’re merely throwing darts in the dark.

 

WPClover is here to help you with website performance. Reach out for a free consultation, and let’s look at what your goals are and how to get there. Our content team is here to help every step of the way.

Ready to see how your website is doing? Try our no-obligation Website Health Check right now!

 

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