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5 Steps To Create Your First Facebook Ad

With a little guidance, anyone can create their first Facebook ad.

Yes, we mean anyone. New marketers or experienced marketers just dipping their toes into the Facebook world can find huge success on Facebook. The key is to set up your first ad, hit publish, and immediately put your learning cap on. 🧢

Every ad you create on Facebook will be a learning opportunity about what works best for your audience on Facebook and what you can do BETTER next time.

So let’s get you started on publishing your first Facebook ad so you can become a baller Facebook marketer. (We believe in you!)

Here are the 5 steps to creating your first Facebook ad.

#1: Figure Out Your Offer and CTA

The first step in creating a Facebook ad is knowing what you’re advertising. What’s your offer and how are you asking people to buy in? Your offer can range from asking people to click-through to your website all the way to asking for them to take out their wallets and buy your stuff.

Here are a few examples of different types of offers:

  • Lead magnet
  • Discount code
  • Buy one, get one
  • Free trial

Figuring out your offer depends on the goal of your Facebook ad. Do you want it to drive more traffic to your website? Would it be ideal if you grow your email list? Is the main goal to get more sales?

For example, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, you’ll want to offer a lead magnet, discount code, or buy one, get one offer that motivates the person to see your ad to check out the details on your site.

If your goal is to grow your email list, you’ll want to offer a lead magnet that requires a person to put their email address into a form so you can send them the ebook, video, course, etc. (and then add them to your email funnel).

Or, if your goal is to get more sales, you want to offer a discount code or buy-one-get-one offer that makes the person click through your ad to your website so they can shop your products.

Here are two examples of DigitalMarketer offers from our Facebook ads. The first offer has the goal of getting people to come to our website and read our article How to Find Writers For Your Blog,

DigitalMarketer's How To Find Writers For Your Blog Facebook ad

Whoever reads this article is going to see 2 calls-to-action inside for our latest promo. The promo inside of our blog posts generally asks for a reader’s email address to receive a lead magnet, subscribe to our DM Insider newsletter, and sometimes buy a low-tier offer (but this isn’t very often).

There are 3 main goals behind this Facebook ad:

  1. Show our content to a cold audience that wasn’t aware of the DigitalMarketer brand (Stage 1 of the Customer Value Journey)
  2. Get readers to turn into leads by signing up to receive the promo
  3. Pixel the people who clicked through to our website so we can target them with ads again

Here’s another ad that we’re running with the offer of a free trial of our Lab membership,

The DigitalMarketer Claim Your Trial Facebook ad

A person that clicks on this ad is going to be taken to our Claim Your Trial of Lab landing page, where they’ll read more information on our Lab membership. There are 2 goals for this Facebook ad:

  1. Get Lab free trial subscriptions
  2. Pixel the people who visited this page (they’re now very warm leads)

Once you’ve looked at your goal and figured out what offer works well for it, you can figure out what your call-to-action is. This will be pretty easy since you’re already going to know what action you need someone to take to achieve your goal.

For example, if we want somebody to read our article, our CTA is “Learn More”. If we want somebody to sign up for a free trial of Lab, our CTA is “Sign Up”.

If we were asking somebody to buy a product, our CTA would be “Buy Now”.

Alright, now that we have our offer and CTA we can start working on the ad creative.

#2: Write Your Copy and Make Your Visuals

With your offer and CTA in hand, it’s time to pull together the copy and visuals that are going to help get your point across. This is your ad creative and it’s a crucial, crucial, crucial part of your ad. If your copy, visuals, or both are off—you’re not going to get the results you were looking for.

Before you start writing your copy and making your images or recording your video, figure out where you want this ad to be seen. 

  • Do you want it to be an ad in Facebook and Instagram feeds?
  • Is it going to be an Instagram story?

Knowing how your ad is going to look is going to tell you what copy you need and how your visual should look.

Let’s start with creating A+ copy that makes your customer avatar think, “Hey…that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”

Here are a few copywriting strategies that are tried and proven:

The Power of One

This copywriting strategy uses a good idea, core emotion, captivating story, or inevitable response to grab someone’s attention. Examples of these are:

Good idea: How to Use Neuromarketing In Your Facebook Ads

Core Emotion: A garbage truck worth of plastic is dumped in the ocean every minute.

Captivating Story: A customer testimonial talking about the difference a product has made on their life, business, etc.

Inevitable Response: You’ll Laugh When You Realize How Many Times You’ve Made This Copywriting Mistake

Benefits Over Features

Don’t use your ad space to talk about the features of your product. These features are what makes you excited, but not your customers. Your customers get excited about the BENEFITS those features will have.

For example, a productivity management tool shouldn’t be highlighting their sleek, easy to use interface—that’s a feature. They should be talking about how much time someone saves by using their tool, that’s a benefit.

Use FOMO, Urgency, and Scarcity

Copywriting uses these emotional triggers to show someone why they should be buying a product, signing up for a product, or opting in.

  • FOMO makes people feel left out and like they want to hop on the wagon
  • Urgency motivates someone to take the CTA as soon as possible
  • Scarcity shows a lack of product, opportunity, etc. and creates a faster conversion

When you use these triggers, you want to make sure that you’re not spreading negative or fearful messages. As a marketer, you have a responsibility to empower people—not scare them into taking the action you want. For example, when we market our Lab membership we never say, “If you don’t join Lab, you’re going to be a terrible marketer.”

That’s spreading negativity and fearful messaging that somebody needs our product to be a great marketer. That’s not what we’re about.

Instead, we’ll say, “Join thousands of other marketers who are learning the best marketing strategies available right now.” This creates a FOMO of not being one of those thousands of marketers, without making somebody feel badly about themselves.

Now, let’s focus on your visuals, whether that’s a single image or video, a carousel, or a collection of images. Remember, your visual is going to have copy included on it. If you’re posting a product image, you can put the price of the product on the image.

For the most part, you can assume that people are going to see your image first, and read your copy after. So you’ll want to put tons of attention on how your visual represents your offer and brand.

For example, take a look at the visual Allie Bloyd is using.

The first thing you notice is the text that reads, 5-Day Local Content Creation Challenge. The second thing you notice is Allie herself. This is a great example of using your ad visual to show your offer (in Allie’s case it’s the 5-Day Local Content Creation Challenge) and making it on brand. For Allie, on-brand is bright colors and a bright image. It’s also her!

Allie Boyd Media's Facebook ad

Phew, now that we’ve worked through the creative process behind your Facebook ad, it’s time to dive into Facebook Ads Manager and publish it!

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#3: Create a Campaign

The first part of creating an ad in Ads Manager is to create a campaign. In this part of your ad creation you’re going to be:

  • Choosing your objective
  • Deciding to run A/B tests
  • Turning on or off campaign budget optimization (CBO)

Let’s quickly go through each of these.

#1: Choosing your objective

This is going to go back to the goal that we talked about in Step #1. What is the goal of your ad? Depending on that goal, you’re going to choose your objective. By choosing the objective here, you’re telling Facebook that this is what a win looks like to you. If you want people to click through to your website, by clicking on the “Traffic” objective you let Facebook know that this is the goal of your ad.

Here are all of your campaign objective options:

The Facebook campaign objective options

#2: A/B Tests

Turning on A/B tests just means that you’re going to publish more than one ad with the same objective. Just like you run A/B tests in email funnels or on landing pages, you want to see which ad performs the best.

If you want to run A/B tests, just turn the toggle on and choose what your test variable is going to be.

The Facebook A/B test options

#3: Campaign Budget Optimization

Campaign budget optimization (CBO) distributes your budget across all of the ad sets in your campaign. Depending on what ad set performs best, it will put more of your budget towards the ads in that ad set.

You can turn this on if you’re going to have multiple ad sets with varying ad creatives. Once you turn it on, Facebook will ask you what your campaign budget is and then automatically move that budget around ad sets depending on their performance (based off of your campaign objective).

The Campaign Budget Optimization Facebook options

And just like that, you have a campaign! 🎉

#4: Create an Ad Set

You’ve made it to the second to last step of creating a Facebook ad! Let’s take a big gulp of coffee together—mmm, magical bean juice. With the caffeine coursing through our veins, we’re ready to make this ad set, the ad(s), and then hit PUBLISH!

Here’s what you’ll be doing when you create your ad set:

  • Choosing your conversion event
  • Choosing to turn on/off dynamic creation
  • Choosing budget and schedule

Choosing your audience

  • Choosing your placements
  • Optimizing and delivery

Let’s go through each option.

#1: Conversion Event

The conversion event that you’ll get to choose is going to be based on the campaign objective that you chose in Step #3. For example, if you clicked on Traffic as your campaign objective, here’s what you’re going to see as your conversion event options.

Facebook Traffic options

#2: Dynamic Creative

Dynamic creative gives Facebook control over creating different variations of your ad using the copy and visuals that you upload for this ad set. 

  • If you turn dynamic creative on, Facebook will show variations of the ad and visuals that you supplied to your audience and then figure out what variation is the most successful at getting the campaign objective
  • If you don’t turn dynamic creative on, then Facebook will use the ad copy and visuals that you upload for each ad

#3: Budget and Schedule

If you’ve been nervous that Facebook is going to send you a massive bill because you messed something up when you set up your campaign, here’s the part where you don’t have to worry anymore.

This is the part where you’ll set your daily budget for each ad set. For example, you can say that you want to spend $20 per day. If you have 2 ads in this ad set, you’ll be spending $10 per day on each ad UNLESS you chose campaign budget optimization. In that case, Facebook will spend the budget on whichever ad is performing best.

You’ll also choose your schedule in this part of Ads Manager. You can determine your start date and your end date (see below). End dates are optional, since you can choose to just keep your ad running indefinitely until it stops converting.

Facebook budget & schedule options

#4: Audience

Alright, time to decide who’s being invited to your Facebook party! This is a really important part of creating your Facebook ad—if it’s not being shown to the right people then you’re not going to get the conversions you hoped for.

You’ll choose your audience based off of:

  1. Location
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Interests
  5. Languages
  6. Connections

#5: Placements

Now, it’s time to choose where the ad is going to be seen. This involves both the platform and where within the platform it’s seen. For example, you can choose for your ad to only be shown on Instagram stories. Or, you can have your ad be a feed post that shows up on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook will ask you if you want Automatic Placements or Manual Placements. Automatic placements will give Facebook the option to place your ad across any of feeds, stories, apps and sites, etc. Manual Placements gives you the option to choose what platform and where on the platform you want your ad placed.

Here’s the first few options you’ll see if you choose Manual Placements: 

Facebook placement options

#6: Optimization and Delivery

Within your ad set, you’ll optimize for an event. You can use this option to optimize for the goal that you chose in Step #1 or for different events per ad set. Here are the options you’ll see for the events you can optimize your ad set for:

Facebook optimization and delivery

Depending on the optimization that you choose, you can set cost control or bid control that puts a budget on the event. This is optional.

And just like that—we have an ad set!!

That means there’s only one more thing to do… put ads in it 🤩

#5: Create an Ad

The final step in creating your first Facebook ad is to…actually create the ad! Now that we’ve done all the background work, it’s time to make the part of the ad that our audience is going to see. Grab your copy and your visuals—it’s time to plug and play.

Here’s how you’re going to create your ad:

  • Choose Identity
  • Choose Ad Setup
  • Create Ad Creative
  • Set Up Tracking
  • Publish

Again, let’s go through these in quick detail.

#1: Identity

Identity is the Facebook page, Instagram profile or person that is going to publish the ad. If you have a business Instagram account, this will be linked to your Facebook page.

The Facebook Identities for Facebook Page and Instagram Account

#2: Ad Setup

In Ad Setup, you’ll choose between 2 options:

  1. Single image or video
  2. Carousel

A carousel ad has several images or videos that someone can scroll through. Here’s an example from DrinkMud.

Example of a carousel ad from DrinkMud

#3: Ad Creative

This is where you’ll copy and paste your copy and upload your images or videos. You’ll have options like Primary Text, Headline (optional), Description, Website URL, and Call to Action.

The ad creative options on Facebook Ads Manager

While you’re putting the above information in, you’ll see your ad start to come together on the right-hand side. Take time to preview the ad in all of its placements to make sure that it looks good. If it doesn’t, you can go back into your ad set (Step #4) and turn that placement off using Manual Placement.

#4: Tracking

We wouldn’t be marketers if we weren’t planning on tracking our ads’ success! In the final step of setting up your Facebook ad, you’re going to choose where you want to track conversions. 

All of the results from your ad are going to be saved in your Ads Manager so you can see the budget, results, reach, impressions, cost per result, amount spent, frequency and unique clicks of your campaigns (depending on what information is relevant to your objective).

#5: PUBLISH!

Now, it’s time to hit the pretty green button in the right-hand corner and set your ad to live! We don’t want to be totally anti-climactic here, but you will have to wait for Facebook to approve your ad before it’s officially live.

But, once they do, your ad will be live for the world to see.

This is the foundation of creating Facebook ads. There are tons of strategies and tips around using Facebook ads that you can start to implement as you get more familiar with the platform and start to build your audience.

We just want you to remember one thing: even if your Facebook ad “fails” because it didn’t hit the campaign objective you were looking for… it’s not actually a failure. You still learned something that brought you closer to getting the traffic and conversions you’re looking for.

Good luck out there! We’ll see you on the feed 😊

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#BlackoutTuesday

It is everyone’s responsibility to unite against racism and social injustice. We at DigitalMarketer offer unwavering support to the Black community and those who are standing up against all forms of violence and discrimination. We believe as a small business we can do better. We believe ALL businesses can do better. 

And we vow to work for real change. To use our platform for good. 

DigitalMarketer employees have donated to the MN Freedom Fund, The Austin Justice Coalition, Black Lives Matter Global, The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, amongst others.  

As a company, we pledge to continue to be better allies to the black community, and specifically the black business community. As an ally, we can no longer sit silently on the sidelines. We pledge to showcase more small businesses and marketers of color. And we pledge to constantly pursue our growth and learning core value to stay in tune with, and actively battle against, the injustices that members of our community face every day. 

We urge you to take your own action, whether that means donating your time, money, or voice, to fighting back against this social injustice.

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How Marketing Certifications Will Level You Up

If you had a way to take yourself to the next level…

In your career, in your business, in your relationships—okay, maybe not that last one, unless marketing skills are really important to your relationships…

Would you do it?

See, here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what job you have or what kind of business you run. There is one skill that will help you with all of them.

Marketing.

Marketing is the connection between a business and their customers.

It’s the reason people fall in love with brands like RXBAR, a protein bar company with such a fanbase that it sold to Kellogg for $600 million or Native, a natural deodorant company with so many customers willing to pay $12 per deodorant stick that it sold to Procter & Gamble for $100 million.

But odds are, the LAST thing you want to do right now is drop everything and enroll in a marketing degree.

And honestly, you don’t need to.

See, degree programs and college classes have a few major downfalls when it comes to learning marketing.

  • You’re listening to one person’s advice, not the advice of several industry leaders
  • You don’t have time for hands on experience, just studying for your next test
  • By the time you’ve graduated, everything you’ve learned is out-of-date

The marketing world is moving too fast for you to not be listening to marketing leaders, practicing your new skills, and using everything you’re learning right now before the next technology wave changes the industry.

This is why certifications can take your marketing skills to the next level.

Here’s why online certifications are a better alternative to traditional marketing degree programs and college classes.

Why Online Marketing Certifications are Better

#1: You’ll be learning about what strategies to use in marketing right now

Not what worked when the required textbook was published. Marketing is moving fast. A few years ago, nobody was talking about chatbots and today—almost every startup is figuring out how to enable chatbots on their website.

What was taught in marketing 2 years ago isn’t nearly as relevant as it was. While some marketing foundations are timeless, like the customer value journey, not everything ages as well.

Spending an entire semester learning about how to use paid ads on Facebook isn’t productive if Facebook changes their policy the day after you hand in your final exam.

Being up-to-date in marketing is essential to leveling up your marketing skills.

#2: You’ll hear advice from industry leaders on the strategies that are currently driving traffic and conversions for them

What’s better than having top marketers show you their email templates, copy strategies, and paid ads settings?

Not much.

What we love about being DigitalMarketer is that we’re able to lead by example.

We’re going to tell you about the email template that we used to drive $100,000+ in sales. Then, we’re going to bring in a copywriting expert to show you exactly what to put in that email template so you can get conversions too.

And, you guessed it—afterwards we’ll have one of the top paid ad experts show you exactly how to set your ads up to drive the traffic that will turn into those email subscribers.

Learning from industry leaders (who are currently creating and executing on digital marketing strategies) is like having a fireside chat with your mentors where they spill all of their secrets.

In this case, their secrets are within the certification that will level up your marketing ability.

#3: You’ll be able to apply that knowledge immediately

What’s better than spending 12 hours studying for a final exam?

Spending 12 hours practicing your new marketing skills in the real world.

Online marketing certifications teach you what strategies to use right now, how industry leaders are using them, and then give you the freedom to practice these strategies.

They don’t reduce the amount of time you have to craft yourself into an expert marketer by forcing you to study for a two hour long exam.

That’s not productive and as a marketer you’ll learn efficiency is everything.

Why not practice what you’re learning, as you’re learning it?

The beauty of the Internet right now is that you’re able to learn copywriting techniques, and then apply them on your own articles and social media posts to see how they convert.

Practice makes perfect as a marketer and the sooner you can start, the faster you’ll become a great marketer.

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#4: You can do your online marketing certification at your own pace

If you’re building your marketing skill set as a side hustle—👏👏👏.

There’s a lot that goes into marketing, from learning the basics of SEO, to the emotional triggers that drive email click-through rates, to retargeting. Nobody expects you to cut all ties with the outside world, find a cave in the middle of nowhere and not come out until you’ve become a master at every single aspect of marketing.

Your life can continue on while you’re becoming a marketing expert.

Online marketing certifications fit into your current life. You can finish each certification on your own time, pausing when you have to focus on family or work, and hopping right back in when you’re ready to continue.

What Makes a Good Marketing Certification

All marketing certifications are not made equal. If you’re investing in a marketing certification, you want to make sure that it’s going to give you an ROI.

Ask yourself these 3 questions about the online marketing certification that you’re considering and make sure the answer to each question is a confident, “Yes.”

Question #1: Is the instructor active in their field?

Remember, marketing is changing fast. While someone may have been the best ecommerce marketer 2 years ago, if they’re not actively marketing ecommerce products TODAY, their strategies are going to be outdated. While some fundamentals are still going to be relevant, you’ll end up paying for information that isn’t relevant today.

That isn’t going to give you an ROI.

Question #2: Has the content in the certification been updated recently?

Let’s say the online marketing certification that you’re considering passes the first test, the instructor is currently working as a marketer. Now, you need to make sure the content in this certification has been updated recently.

Some online marketing certifications have been around for a few years. While the marketing strategies worked great in the past, these strategies aren’t going to be relevant to you now. Even if the marketer is working full-time right now, if they’re not talking about what’s working for them TODAY, then you’re not getting useful information.

Question #3: Is there a test to showcase your expertise?

You might have read this answer and thought, “ewwww.” We know the feeling—does anybody actually like taking tests?

The reason you need a test in your online marketing certification is that without it, there’s no credibility around the certification. Someone could buy the certification, never watch a single video or read any of the content and then say they’re an accredited marketer.

Would you want to hire this marketer for your business? No. And you don’t want to be that marketer either.

You want to be the marketer that proves their knowledge. By having a test at the end of your certification, you’ll prove your marketing knowledge because if you didn’t have this knowledge, you wouldn’t have been able to get the certification.

Sometimes tests are a good thing. Sometimes.

How Will Marketing Certifications ACTUALLY Help?

Online marketing certifications are better than degree programs and college classes because they are up-to-date, led by experienced experts currently executing marketing strategies, and give you the time freedom to be able to start practicing your skills immediately.

Once you’ve found the online marketing certification you’re interested in, you might find yourself hovering over the Buy button wondering—is this actually going to help me?

And that’s why you want to make sure you can confidently answer yes on the above 3 questions, because if you can your marketing certification WILL actually help.

Your online marketing certification will:

  • Train you in critical marketing tactics/disciplines
  • Keep you up-to-date on the latest in marketing
  • Build your resume out to impress any prospective employer OR client/customer
  • Give you new skills and boost your abilities
  • Make you a better marketer

If you’re looking to become a certified marketer, DigitalMarketer offers certifications and masterclasses from industry leaders on content marketing, paid traffic, social media, and more. Our teachers are active marketers, our content is updated regularly, and each certification ends with a test to showcase your expertise.

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How To Attract Your Ideal Client

Working with clients that aren’t a great fit can feel a lot like a dysfunctional relationship. Everyone is unhappy, no one feels understood, and try as we might, things rarely ever turn out good on the first try (or second, or third…).

So, you fall back on the same old question.

The one keeping every business owner up at night.

How do I attract clients that I will actually like working with?

But guess what? It really isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Attracting your ideal client doesn’t have to be mind-boggling. With the help of 1 tool, you’ll be able to successfully attract and convert your dream clients.

It starts with the most important step…

Know Your Ideal Client

If I asked you to describe your ideal client, what would you say?

“LOT’S of money they LOVE spending on my products/services!”

Ha ha, very funny…

But in all seriousness, can you honestly answer this question in detail?

Because, if you don’t know who your ideal client is (what makes them tick, what winning looks like for them, or what their budget will look like)—it’s nearly impossible to attract them.

So, if “lots of money” is the only determining factor for your ideal client, I suggest you check out the Customer Avatar Worksheet.

Customer Avatar

This holy grail tool reviews all the essential information you need to know about your clients so you can begin to build a better relationship with them.

Use this resource to get inside your ideal client’s headspace by thinking about their goals and aspirations, challenges and pain points, possible objections, and more.

If you find yourself scratching you head, unable to answer the questions on this sheet, that’s a great indication that you need to do more research. This can mean a lot of different things, but I submit to you that the best way to get to know your ideal client is to…

…wait for it….

Talk to them!

Chances are you’ve already got 1 or 2 clients that love the services you offer. These advocates are the people you want to model your customer avatar after because with little to no effort, they’ve already fallen in love with your company. These are your ideal clients.

Remember; the foundation of any great relationship (business or otherwise) starts with getting to know someone.

Meet Your Ideal Client Where They’re At

Every client you work with is going to be unique in their needs, processes, and products they sell.

Luckily, there’s one thing all your ideal clients are bound to have in common… They’re all online.

With 2.6 billion active monthly users on Facebook, and an ungodly number of google searches per month (even though 1 million of those searches per month are, in fact, searching for “god”), your perfect client is bound to be online.

Online advertising is the most time efficient chance you have at connecting with your ideal customer. With a few Google ads and a Facebook campaign or 2, you’ll be able to drum up a fair number of leads every month.

Your Customer Avatar can help inform your ad and keyword targeting, and while it’s unlikely that every lead will fit the criteria of your ideal client, you will find some.

But, how do you create ads that resonate with and attract your ideal client?

Appeal to Their Current Situation

Above all else, people want to be heard, understood, and cared about.

Think about the last argument you got into with your friend or spouse. If you strip away all the nuance, you’ll probably find that the argument stemmed from someone feeling ignored, misunderstood, or not cared for in some way.

The same principal applies to your marketing campaigns.

Good marketing calls out to an audience and makes them feel understood, heard, and cared for.

Take, for example, the Harmon Brothers viral video ads for brands like Squatty Potty, Lume, and Poo-Pourri.

Every one of their sensational videos starts by calling out the customers before state: that is, the current problem that the customer is facing.

By detailing the situation and emotions surrounding the before state, it shows that the brand heard, understood and cared about the customer. They know the struggles their customer is going through, and they want to help!

Doing the same in your ads (and not just your video ads), will help build a strong connection between you and your ideal client.

You can use your Customer Avatar to help identify frustrations and fears that your client is experiencing. 

But once you point out the before state, it’s important to show the after state.

Show Them What Winning with You Will Look Like

You’ve pointed out your client’s problems, but you shouldn’t leave them hanging too long.

This is where lots of marketers make a grave mistake: They jump right to listing out product specs or services.

Here’s the thing…

Your client doesn’t care about your product (harsh, but true). They care about what your product can do for them.  The care about the transformation.

Your job isn’t to point out all the problems. Effective marketing shows how your product or service will help your customer transition from the before state to an ideal after state.

Products don’t convert clients, transformations do.

So, think about your clients ideal after state.

How will they feel once they’ve accomplished their goal using your services? What will their day to day look like after taking advantage of your product/service? What will they have time to do now that you’re working with them?

What will have changed?

These are the things you want to focus on in your advertising.

If you can show your clients their ideal after state, they’ll be dying to work with you.

One more time for the people in the back… don’t sell your product, sell the transformation.

Prove Your Worth

If you’ve effectively used the before and after states in your ads, your ideal client will be primed and ready to take the next step.

So, what do you do? You show them an offer that’s easy to say yes to.

Don’t make the mistake that your amazing campaign will have your client ready to spend millions on your products… you might be good, but no one is that good.

You need to give yourself an opportunity to prove your worth to your client. The best way to do that is by asking for a micro-commitment and over performing.

This is where Lead Magnets come into play. Lead Magnets are a great way to offer immense value to your customer with little-to-no risk on their end.

The Lead Magnet shouldn’t be your main offer, but it should be the natural first step towards your main offer. It should provide a quick win.

By asking a little, and delivering a lot, you client knows that you’re aware of their problems, and you’re serious about delivering results that help them overcome these problems.

If you can get to know your customer, meet them where they are at, and show them that your product will help them transform, you won’t just attract your ideal client, you’ll convert them too.

Customer Avatar

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What is an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is one of the most important aspects of American society. As Americans, many of us often dream of changing the world with a revolutionary product and getting rich while doing it. Fulfillment and profit is, to many of us, the true American dream.

Entrepreneurship is so important to Americans, its idolization is often ingrained in children. Whether it’s learning about the impact of Carnegie and Rockefeller in school, or watching Spongbob and Patrick trying to become “rich entrepreneurs” by selling chocolate bars, we attempt to teach the importance of business at an early age.

But, amid the success stories and the unthinkable profit margins, it’s easy to forget what goes into becoming the next Zuckerberg.

But what exactly is an entrepreneur, and what does it take to actually become one?

What is an Entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is about uniquely and efficiently playing a role and/or filling a need. Entrepreneurship is about providing people with services or products that make their life better.  At its heart, being an entrepreneur is about making the world a better place with one small idea that can evolve into something spectacular.

For Jeff Bezos, it was streamlining the process of shopping so you can do it from home. 

For Henry Ford, it was creating and revolutionizing a machine that would help people travel. 

For Facebook, it was reinventing the way people connect and interact with each other. For Ryan Deiss, it was enabling other entrepreneurs to change the world by helping them reach a wider audience.

So what does it actually take to become an entrepreneur?

For a lot of people, discovering that simple idea can be really easy (who doesn’t have an invention or service idea that will change the world in their back pocket?). However, turning it into something tangible can be really hard. A great idea doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. One really important aspect of entrepreneurship to consider is the one thing that oftentimes scares people out of it: risk.

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Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. If it was, everybody would do it. In a sense, starting your own business is a gamble, and those that catch a lucky break are the people that we inevitably idolize. There is no guarantee you’re going to get rich. There’s not even guarantee you’re going to break even. Starting a business is, by nature, a risky game to play.

But the thing is, as an entrepreneur, you can stack the odds in your favor. 

It undoubtedly takes some luck to become a successful businessperson. However, it primarily takes hard work and creativity to rise above the competition. Those who put in the work required are the ones who will likely become successful. Everyone has a chance to get lucky, but only a handful of people are actually willing to put in the work.

So, what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?

Coming up with an original and unique idea is a great place to start, but it’s only half the battle. Coming up with a creative business plan is crucial to sustained success. Figuring out how to find consumers is an absolute necessity. You’ll also have to make important partnerships, create a brand, and figure out who you are actually selling to. Finally, you’ll have to put everything together to fill a need better than anyone else.

So, what does all of that really mean?

It takes a team to become a successful entrepreneur.

An amazing work ethic and incredible levels of creativity and ingenuity are great things to have when starting a business, and those skills will definitely make you a fantastic leader. But there are typically too many moving parts for one person to handle by themselves. It likely won’t matter if you’re the smartest person in your field or the best salesman alive; successful entrepreneurship takes a fully comprehensive team. And what fun is success with no one to share it with?

There are numerous ways to go about assembling a team, and hiring employees will likely become a must down the road. But assembling your dream team can be as simple as connecting with other like-minded entrepreneurs and businesses that want the same thing that you do: success.

Take DigitalMarketer for example. Like I said before, our entire focus as a business is enabling other entrepreneurs to change the world by helping them reach a wider audience. For us, the need we fill is providing assistance with one of the most important aspects of business today: marketing. We do this through things like our Certified Partner Program, which allows entrepreneurs to learn the keys to successful marketing for small businesses, as well as gives them access to top-of-the-line tools and systems to take their marketing to the next level. We thrive on helping other ambitious people accomplish their goals.

We’re always looking for entrepreneurs to team up with because we believe that entrepreneurs are more successful when they work together. 

Starting a business isn’t easy. Whether you have an idea that you need help getting off the ground or you’re like us and want to help others accomplish the goals they need to be successful, it’s undoubtedly going to be a slow process at first. Almost all estimates show that it takes two to three years for businesses to become profitable.

So, the final key to becoming an entrepreneur is patience.

And yes, we know how hard it can be to be patient. No one likes taking things slow, especially when they think their idea is one in a million.

But good businesses, like good houses, are built with a solid base. It’s not necessarily fun to build a foundation, but you’ll surely fail without it.

It’s also all the more reason why it’s important to have a team.

And so we release you into the world of entrepreneurship. The best advice we could give you is to trust your gut and focus on what’s going to grow your business. After all, the Chia Pet song came to fruition in a bar, and we all know how that turned out! 

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Achieving Unicorn Growth: 5 Rapid Customer Acquisition Strategies Guaranteed To Drive Massive Results

Editor’s Note: This post was pulled from one of Roland Frasier’s Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 talks.

There are 5 things you can do in your business to grow really fast. 

#1: Co-Branding with Product Integration Partnerships 

Tap into a businesses network of customers to build your own customer base. 

  • Dominos partners with Days Inn & Travel Lodge and put Domino’s cards in each hotel room 
  • Rolls Royce partners with Country Clubs
    • Rolls Royce doesn’t pay them anything, the benefit for the country club is the experience they can give to their customers 
  • Casper and West Elm Furniture Company
    • They’re the mattresses on all of the beds because West Elm doesn’t sell mattresses 

Increase the value of their business to their customers (like Rolls Royce) or have a fee to promote it (Dominos), or have a revenue share. You can also look for companies that are already in these partnerships and make a better deal for them. 

  • For example, another mattress company could give West Elm Furniture Company more revenue share and replace Casper

#2: Tap The Curiously Powerful Effect of Butterfly Leverage 

Butterfly leverage is all about finding ways to make more money off of one product or service. 

What are all of the ways you can monetize something that you’re doing? Each time you’re going to do something, look for other opportunities to monetize. 

For example, you can turn one event into several events and create a 7-figure ROI. T&C did this with Richard Branson. 

  • Hire Richard Branson to speak at T&C 
  • Offer a private reception with Branson at $15,000/ticket
    • $300,000 in profit that goes to Richard Branson’s foundation (we didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket to get him here) 
    • Anyone who got a ticket becomes a War Room prospect (20 prospects added) 
  • Offer a private business lunch with Branson
    • We offered a win a seat at lunch with Richard Branson contests 
    • Got 1,522 pixels
  • Business Lunch Live Podcast Episode featuring Branson
    • Led to 2,372 podcast subscribers 
    • Put us in the Top 200 Worldwide Charts 
  • Sold 619 T&C tickets via Sir Richard Branson coupon code
    • $330,000 in revenue 
  • Sold 728 more via speaker announcements
    • Every speaker at the show wanted to be identified as sharing the stage with Richard Branson 
    • They all emailed their list to show this off 
    • $720,000 in revenue 

The end effect of all of this was an additional $1.5 million dollars. 

#3: Structure To “Sell The Eggs” And Keep The Geese 

This allows us to sell one part of our business without losing all of the momentum we’ve created over the past few years. Essentially, we’re spinning off of our operation assets and keeping our platform. 

For example: T&C sold a domain name, an attendee list, and a trademark to Clarion Partners. We kept the sponsorship sales company, the media company (DigitalMarketer), our mastermind (War Room), and our staffing company (no employees went with the sale of the company). 

Our next step in the event world is to partner with Brendon Burchard to acquire half of his Expert’s Academy. Our leverage was to bring our sponsorship company, media company, and event staffing to the partnership. What did we do? Took T&C out of the picture and replaced it with Expert’s Academy. Next year, we can do the same thing with a different event. It’s not a formula of selling our eggs but keeping our goose. 

Clarion Partners is already interested in buying that event. We have a machine that can turn itself on to event after event to create new assets. 

Structure like this so you never end up without a platform. 

#4: Scale Most Impactful Activities, Eliminate Least Impactful Activities, And Verticalize 

First think about the kinds of businesses that you have. There are 4 types:

When you systemize and analyze what you’re doing like this it helps you make good decisions around what to focus on for leverage in the future. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What are the most impactful activities you enjoy right now? 
  • What least impactful activities can we eliminate? 
  • What additional vertical can you expand your most impactful activities into? 

#5: Grow Through Acquisitions 

There are 4 steps to acquire for growth. 

Step 1: Decide which types of businesses to acquire. 

  • Acquire your competitor to get them out of the market 
  • Acquire media
    • Facebook group 
    • LinkedIn account 
    • YouTube account 
  • Acquire for a team 
  • Buy a company with products or services 
  • Consolidate the supply and distribution chain 
  • Acquire intellectual property (IP)
    • Customer list

Step 2: Buy businesses for nothing down. 

8 Business Purchase Strategies: 

  • Owner carry
    • Buy a company for $X if they will carry back the financing and let you pay it back over time 
    • You can add the option of giving interest 
  • Earn-out
    • Based on the performance going forward you can get additional money for the company you sold 
    • If you’re buying the company it reduces the risk 
  • Swaps
    • Swap stock or assets in one company 
  • Asset-based lending
    • Buy the company but have the company pay for itself through assets they already have 
  • Split equity
  • Self-liquidating payments
    • Payment equal to what you know you can make back 
  • Baseline
    • Offer the first $3 million that comes in as the baseline and after you do your magic, everything on top is split 50/50 and after 3 years if the 50/50 is equal we throw away that baseline 
  • Pipe wrench
    • If you contribute more than 10% of the customers to another company
    • Don’t build their brand for them 
    • Give me equity in your company 

Step 3: Find the exit multiple for each profit center. 

Find the multiple for your industry and pivot your business to the highest multiple possible. Here’s a #V/sales business valuation chart that shows what multiple your business is: 

Step 4: Reposition toward the highest exit multiple. 

Which exit multiple creates the greatest exit value? For example, 584 

DigitalMarketer’s looks this: 

Our multiple went from 0.91 in 2014 to 7.73 just by changing what we did.

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4 Ways Small Businesses Can Recover from Economic Catastrophe

There’s something important that needs to be said.

Businesses have survived hard times before. And yours can be one of them.

There are things that small businesses have done in the past that you can replicate today to stay afloat—no matter how many challenges get thrown your way. The key here is to play offense with those challenges, not defense.

You see, the key to recovering once the dust has settled is to make sure that before it even has a chance to settle, you’re already on the move. The businesses who have bounced back after an economic catastrophe are the ones who didn’t wait for the dust—they took action during the storm.

Businesses survived the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed it. For two years, they focused on playing offense so they could stay in the game.

And you can too.

Here’s what they did to ensure they’d be able to recover.

#1: Focus on building an audience today

You might not be able to sell a lot of products right now. Marketing agencies might see their clients decreasing their monthly ad budgets. If you’re an ecommerce store, you might be watching a steady decline of sales. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop promoting.

You just need to change your offer

For example, a marketing agency can create a PR package for new clients that need help with their marketing message amid COVID-19. Instead of asking for their regular 6+month contract, they’ll let clients sign on for 1–3 months.

An ecommerce company could offer discounts or buy one get one offers.

This is all aimed at doing one thing. Growing your audience.

It might not be the time to try to land your biggest contract of the year or to have the biggest ecommerce sales day yet. But, it is the time to figure out how you can grow your audience. Because there’s one thing you can be certain of, the economy will come back.

And when it recovers, you’ll be able to go for that huge contract or aim to hit your biggest ecommerce sales goals using the audience you’ve built. At DigitalMarketer, we inadvertently did this.

With no strings attached, or offensive play in the making, we offered our Lab membership for free for two weeks. We just wanted to do our part to help during the COVID crisis and didn’t think much would happen—we just wanted marketers stuck at home to be able to learn while they were there. Turns out, a lot of marketers took us up on our deal. 

We ended up with over 30,000 new subscribers and a huge new audience that we can now show our offers to once the timing is right. We didn’t mean for things to end this way but it’s proof that people are receptive to new offers right now. 

Don’t focus on the money, focus on the audience.

That’s how you bounce back.

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#2: Look for strategic partnerships

Part of building a new audience is to take a look at your industry and figure out who you can collaborate with. The current state of the world has changed a lot—and some of that change has to do with who you can do business with.

For example, you might have taken part in a few Instagram Live workouts while being at home. How many of these did you see 3 months ago?

Yeah, we didn’t see any either. Instagram influencers and trainers are jumping onto these at-home workouts to keep their audience engaged with their content. The influencers need content and the trainers need new people to take their virtual classes since their in-person sessions have been cancelled. 

You can even take this further and look past collaboration and towards acquisition. There are some business owners who feel the heat right now and they want to get out of the kitchen. They might have already pulled their business through the last economic turn or they might be realizing they’re just not interested in the constant pivots and challenges that come with this type of economy.

Guess who can take over? Yep, that’s right… you. If you’re interested.

#3: Communicate, communicate, communicate

Should we say it again?

Your business needs to have crystal clear communication right now, ESPECIALLY if your team is distributed for the first time. Here’s who needs to hear from you:

  • Your team
  • Your customers
  • Your community (if you’re a local business)
  • Your mom (you can tell her for the fourth time today that you’re doing fine)

Small businesses that recovered from the last financial crisis did so by keeping their team in line with their current goals. Maybe those goals changed 3 times in the last two weeks—but as long as those goals were communicated to their team, they were able to work towards them.

They then relayed the necessary information to their customers, letting them know about new products, offers, discounts, content, or anything else that would be useful to them right now. For local businesses, they kept in touch with their community, working to support first responders or provide meals to those in need (if possible).

Then, they called their mom to assure her that they were alright.

HINT: Right now, people are holding their money close. Giving away free or discounted products is one of the best ways to show your audience that you see what they’re going through and you want to help them out.

#4: Stay out of your head

None of the above means anything if you get too far into your head about what is going on and how you’re going to survive it. Sure, this is certainly a stressful situation, but that doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.

You’re playing offense right now. It’s your job to see the opportunities and take them—not to run the opposite direction.

We’ve seen it in the tech world time and time again, small companies are able to innovate faster than larger companies because they can pivot FAST.

Right now, the name of the game is pivot, and you’re holding the ball. You need to get to the end zone, and you have to avoid all of the challenges that come your way. The only way you’re going to do that is to stay out of your head and think like an innovative, small business that CAN pivot at a moment’s notice.

Staying flexible is going to be a huge determiner of your ability to survive this crisis and bounce back later. Because right now, you need to change your offers, but soon you’ll need to change them again to fit the new state of the economy.

It will be a state nobody knows (and it’s close to impossible to predict), but we can be certain is on its way.

So, you can predict that you’ll need to pivot your offer and prepare for it—NOW—so you can bounce back faster than the competition.

Because you’re a legend 😉.

Say it with us,

“Businesses have survived hard times before. And mine can be one of them.”

An economic crisis doesn’t mean goodbye to all of your hard work. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses that recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession after it. This is what they did to stay in the game and bounce back when the economy stabilized and started its upward climb again.

Everything’s going to be okay—you got this!

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What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is one of the most important metrics to keep track of in your email marketing strategy.

Open rates and click-through rates are important factors, but if your emails aren’t able to get into your subscriber’s inbox, then you won’t be able to get opens or clicks.

Let’s take a look at what email deliverability is, what you should be aiming for, and what you can do to improve your deliverability.

What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is how well an email sender is able to deliver emails to recipients’ inboxes. 

The email sender is you and the Internet service provider (ISP) is the third-party standing in the way of you getting your emails to your subscribers. ISPs are Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc., and they want your subscribers to engage with your emails, not mark them as spam.

That’s where deliverability comes in. ISPs block spammers from reaching your inbox and if they see that YOUR emails have been marked as spam, your deliverability rate is going to decrease.

This sounds scarier than it is. As long as you’re treating your list right, you’re going to be able to maintain a high deliverability rate and positively crush your email marketing strategy. We’ll talk about the details of that in the third section, but first let’s figure out what your email deliverability is.

How to Calculate Email Deliverability

To figure out your email deliverability rate, take the number of emails that reach recipients’ inboxes and divide it by the total number of emails sent. Then, multiply by 100 to get the percentage.

For example, let’s say you have 10,000 subscribers on your email list and you send a broadcast email to all 10,000 of those subscribers. The next day you check to see how many people received the email. You find that 8,000 subscribers out of 10,000 received it.

Take 8,000 and divide it by 10,000. You’ll get 0.8. Multiply that by 100 to get your percentage and you have an 80% deliverability rate.

You want your email deliverability rate to be as close to 100% as possible. If it’s not, then you’re practicing some bad habits that are making your subscribers complain about your emails. 

Let’s go over some of those habits.

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How to Improve Your Email Deliverability

Here are a few ways to improve your email deliverability or to keep your email deliverability at 100%. 

#1: Authenticate Your Email Domain & Use the Same IP Address

Authenticating your email domain is like meeting up with your ISP for coffee and proving that you’re a real person. ISPs like authenticated email domains because it gives them the confidence that you’re not a spammer trying to convince people to give you their bank information so you can transfer them the millions of dollars you just inherited from a distant relative. You can do this through third-parties and can learn more about authentication here.

Imagine that the ISP you met for coffee wanted you to send them a secret 4-digit code every time you sent an email so they knew that you hadn’t been hacked. Sending your emails from the same IP address is like giving your ISP that 4-digit code. If you start sending emails from another IP address, your ISP will see that you didn’t give them the secret 4-digit code and will think you’ve been hacked, lowering your deliverability rate.

#2: Send Subscribers Content They Care About

If you’re a nut butter company, you shouldn’t be sending your subscribers emails about the best sofa deals right now. You want to send them information on how to use your nut butter to make delicious recipes for their family. This is an important part of the opt-in process. You want to make sure that subscribers know exactly what kinds of emails you intend to send them when they sign up to be added to your list.

Subscribers will be happy to receive emails from you as long as they can read your subject line and see that it’s content they wanted to see from you.

#3: Spread Out Your Promotions

At DigitalMarketer, we create promotional calendars to make sure that we’re not sending too many promotions at one time. Nobody (including us) wants to be overwhelmed with product promotion after promotion. It makes your subscriber feel like they’ll never be able to buy it all and waters down your offers (since they know there’s always another one around the corner).

To avoid overwhelming your subscribers with too many promotional product emails, create a 90-day calendar and figure out when you’re going to launch product campaigns with accompanying promotional emails. Then, make sure that your promotions are spread out so that you’re offering valuable content in-between promotions that keeps subscribers interested in your emails.

#4: Don’t Email Too Often

We talked about sending too many promotional emails, but there’s also such a thing as sending too many emails in general. This can decrease a lot of your email metrics. The amount of emails that qualify you as sending emails “too often” is specific to your list and what subscribers opted-in to.

For example, if you’re a daily newsletter, sending emails every day makes sense. Subscribers asked for you to send them an email every day by opting in. But, if you’re a nut butter company, they probably don’t want to see you in their inbox every single day. Choosing a day and branding it with your company, like Nut Butter Recipe Monday, is a better way to send them consistent content without overdoing it.

#5: Use List Hygiene to Clean Your List

List hygiene got its name because it’s like giving your email list a bath. It gets rid of all of the unnecessary email addresses that are bouncing on a consistent basis or totally unengaged subscribers. This is an important part of maintaining an email list. Although it’ll lower your subscriber number, it’s going to increase your open rates because you’re sending to a higher percentage of engaged subscribers post-cleaning.

The general list hygiene rule is to clean your list every 6(ish) months. This gives you the opportunity to segment your unengaged list and put them through a re-engagement campaign.

You want to take your subscribers and move them into the Conversion Stage of the Customer Value Journey—and that can’t be done if they never get your emails. If your subscribers don’t get your emails, they’ll never know about your offers, products, or content. 

That’s why email deliverability is a huge part of every email marketing strategy.

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An Update On DigitalMarketer’s COVID-19 Response (and how we’re pivoting back to “business as usual”)



NOTE: This post is an update to a previous post on DigitalMarketer’s COVID-19 response. CLICK HERE to view the original post.


It has been an honor and privilege to support the marketing community during this challenging time by allowing free access to our flagship subscription, DigitalMarketer Lab, to all the marketers and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

I am thrilled and humbled to announce that, as of this writing, over 30,000 marketers have taken us up on our offer and over 10,000 have already completed at least one training.

The words “thank you” do not come close to expressing my gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has participated, everyone who is spreading the word, and of course, everyone on the DigitalMarketer team who has gone above and beyond their normal duties to make this happen.

With that said, the time has come for us to begin the pivot back to “business as usual.”

While I fully acknowledge that the threat has not passed, as a small business with bills to pay and mouths to feed, we simply cannot afford to stay in idle mode forever. We need to get back to work, and I’m betting you do, too.

So, at midnight on March 31st, we will be closing the free account option for DigitalMarketer Lab, and subscription pricing will return to normal. But to ease this transition (and to still support those who get in late), we have also decided to extend the access period to the Lab platform to April 15th for everyone who has a free account.

In other words, anyone who joins DigitalMarketer Lab prior to midnight on March 31st will continue to have access to all our premium content for an additional 15 days beyond what we originally planned… still no credit card required.

I know that things are far from normal, and I know we still have a long road of recovery ahead of us. But I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I hope you are, too.

Be well. Stay safe. And let’s get to work. 🙂

In hope and gratitude,

Ryan Deiss

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[CASE STUDY] How DigitalMarketer Activated 44% of Previously Silent Community Members in 5 Days

(Editor’s Note: This case study was done by our beloved former Community Manager, Suzi Nelson, back in 2016. But we thought it was too good to keep hidden in the depths of the blog, so we’ve brought it back to share with you again. Enjoy!)

I ran into this headfirst with blind hope…

I didn’t know if my experiment would work…

But as DigitalMarketer’s community manager, I know this company is always willing to do whatever is necessary to connect with our community.

That’s what I’m sharing with you guys today: the results and strategy of my most recent experiment to activate non-participants within our highly-active, private community, DigitalMarketer Engage.

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We increased…

  • Active members from 6,893 to 10,803 (an increase of 56.72%).
  • Reacters from 5,669 to 8,854 (an increase of 56.18%).
  • Commenters from 4,888 to 8,136 (an increase of 66.45%).
  • Engaged members from 6,892 to 10,801 (an increase of 56.72%).
  • Publishers from 2,790 to 4,845 (an increase of 73.66%).

Here are what our member stats looked like before the experiment (we keep all our community metrics tracked in Grytics—an analytic and management tool for Facebook groups):

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And here’s what those same stats looked like five days later:

activate-community-users-img2

As you can see, my efforts resulted in over 44% activation of previously silent community members—all in just five days.

That means of those members who previously never contributed to our community:

  • 11% made their first post
  • 17% made their first comment
  • 16% initiated a reaction (“liked” a post)

And lots of post like this:

activate-community-users-img3
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Before we break down the strategy, a quick sidebar:

I’ve written about community management on the DigitalMarketer blog a bit now. I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but for those of you just becoming familiar with community management, let’s pin down what it truly is:

Community Management (noun)

Activities centered around creating a healthy environment for community members to connect with each other and facilitate, strengthen, and encourage those relationships.

All on the same page now? Great! Let’s get into the experiment…

What is a Lurker?

The purpose of this experiment (aptly titled “Love Our Lurkers Week”) was NOT to increase engagement, but to activate users that weren’t reaping the full benefits of our already highly-active community, Digital Marketer Engage.

Like any group, forum, or community, we have our own fair share of lurkers.

According to Webster’s, a “lurker” is defined as someone who reads messages written by other people in an online group, without writing any messages themselves. It’s common Internet lingo for a member of a group, chat, forum, or other online community who does not contribute—neither posting nor commenting.

That’s not so say that lurkers don’t get a tremendous sense of value out of being members of a community. They can read along and still get a sense of satisfaction from being a part of the group.

…So why even reach out to people who don’t contribute if everyone is happy where they are at?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand that there are several reasons why lurkers… well, lurk—and what motivators they need to see to get them contributing.

1. They Don’t Have a Practical Need

Some lurkers don’t have a practical need to contribute to a community. They can get all the answers they need just by browsing. This group is more interested in information than interaction, and is generally reading with a specific goal in mind.

What’s interesting to note is that according some studies, this subset of lurkers can actually feel a strong sense of community, even though they don’t actively participate with other members.

That’s pretty significant—just because a member doesn’t participate doesn’t mean they don’t feel like they are member of a community.  If you run your own community, don’t make the mistake of trying to get everyone to post. This group of lurkers is happy right where they are. Let them be!

Target audience for Love Our Lurkers Week? Nope!

2. They’re Getting to Know Your Community

There’s another subset of lurkers who are still learning the ropes and getting to know how things work.

  • Will my contribution break any rules?
  • What kind of language is appropriate?
  • What are other members like?
  • What range of topics are discussed?
  • What kind of questions are appropriate to ask?
  • Is there anyone in this group that I can relate to?
  • How do I get additional help if I need it?

All of these questions have to do with community culture. Members in a community want to feel like they fit in, and want to incorporate themselves as seamlessly as possible into the culture.

Target audience for Love Our Lurkers Week? Absolutely! I knew I could make posts that educated this subset about our community to ease the transition from observer to contributor.

3. Social Fear

This is a big one.

Participating in a community can be intimidating, especially if it’s a “Community of Practice,” like DM Engage. A Community of Practice means the members share a craft or profession…in this case, that’s digital marketing.

It’s true—we do have a lot of really smart marketers in our community who are very generous with their time and expertise.

Lurking members might assume that everyone else in the group is more knowledgeable than they are, so they hesitate to contribute out of fear of:

  • Asking a question the community will think is dumb.
  • Giving advice that the community will perceive as dumb.

There are many interventions a community manager can make when it comes to addressing social fear—easing the minds of this subset of lurkers was one of the main goals of Love Our Lurkers Week.

The Strategy

1. Built Buzz

I didn’t want our theme week to come as a surprise to our active members.

I knew that I would need their buy-in and, more importantly, their help with engaging our lovely lurkers. After all, how lame would it be if I were the only one excited that un-engaged members were suddenly participating? No, we needed to make this exciting for everyone!

I made the first “buzz-building” post about a month before the scheduled Lurkers Week—well, it was part buzz and part getting our community members emotionally involved from the beginning.

It’s simple: I asked if “lurker” was a bad word.

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Now, because I had been reading several articles about lurkers over the last few weeks, I had a pretty good idea of what would happen with this post: there would be many voices who did not like the term. It’s a hot-button topic in many community manager circles as leaders try to come up with the most politically correct, least-offensive term for non-participants.

And if you ask a group of 10,000 people what they prefer to be called, you’re going to get a TON of different answers.

Even though I read every single comment and discussed the different terms at length with my team, the REAL reason why I posted it was to get our members thinking and talking about lurkers.

What was surprising was that a lot of self-described lurkers chimed in on the conversation. That was unexpected, but makes sense—we’re talking about them!

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In the end, I went with my gut and the “Love Our Lurkers” title stuck. The good news is that no one got upset, and we had members referring to themselves as lurkers before the week was up. No big deal, but the conversion on the post was priceless in getting members primed for what was to come.

I made another crowdsourcing post a week before the event, asking our active members to contribute past posts for our “Legendary Post” list that would go up during Love Our Lurker’s Week.

This was another fun way to get our community hyped up and involved in the whole process.

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2. Pinned A Post

A Pinned Post is a post that a group admin can “pin” to the top of the group page and it stays at the top until it is removed or replaced by a new post. The idea here is that more people will see whatever is it I need to them see.

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This post outlined what the week was all about, and I updated it daily to include direct links to the daily Love Our Lurkers Week posts. I wanted to be sure that…

  • New members knew what was going on.
  • Active members got a reminder to look out for new participants.
  • Lurkers knew a little of what to expect.

3. Offered A Sweepstakes

At the last minute, I decided that our lurkers might love the additional motivation of a cool prize, so I included a hashtag contest: any non-participates who contributed with the hashtag #lurkersweek were eligible to win some DM swag.

4. Made A Post A Day

Given some of the reasons that community members do not participate—namely social fear and remaining in a state of observation–I wanted my daily post to address these issues directly… and the response was great!

Let’s take a look at the posts and break it all down.

Love Our Lurker’s Week

Day 1: Community Resources

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Knowing that there are a subset of lurkers who are looking to get to know the community culture better and address the social fear of sounding dumb, my first post was all about making members feel comfortable contributing.

The post included links to our Community Guidelines and a glossary of common terms found inside the group so non-participants could get to know how the community operates and learn the insiders-only lingo that will plug them right into the “it” crowd of the community.

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I also included common types of questions that our community members love to answer, and provided tips for getting fast responses to questions members ask in the group.

At the end, I asked our active members to post their own tips for posting. Remember, the goal of community management is to facilitate those member-to-member relationships—so a lurker reading encouragement from another member is way more powerful than any post I can make as community manager!

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Day 2: List of Legendary Posts

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Being able to understand and connect with a community’s past is important for any community member to feel a strong emotional connection to whatever group they are in.

Knowing this, I really wanted to make a list of posts that are referenced often by the community or caused a big stir when they were posted.

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Not only does this familiarize silent readers about how our community works, it also educates these members on the kinds of posts that tend to get the most conversation and engagement.

Day 3: Introduced Group Influencers

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This post was all about introducing our non-active members to some stellar members of our community who go above and beyond in helping out other members. I listed what they did, how long they’ve been a member of DigitalMarketer Lab, and their area of expertise.

Not only did this post make our influencers feel very valued (many bragged on their public Facebook profile that they made the list, which was awesome), but it introduced our community’s social hierarchy.

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This is dipping a toe into social psychology, so hang with me for a moment.

Social hierarchy is a natural development in any community—online or offline. People tend to sort themselves into a predictable social structure, usually placing more experienced members at the top of the hypothetical ladder.

Encouraging this hierarchy in an online community is a good thing. If the hierarchy is clearly defined, it makes new members (or lurkers) feel like they are working toward a goal and their participation in the community can move them up the social ladder.

Day 4: Social Proof

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As I mentioned before, nothing is more powerful than hearing from active members themselves on why participating in the community is so valuable.

Getting to know other members is great at combating social fear and motivating any lurkers stuck in that “observation rut”.

Here’s a look at a few of the 30 community testimonials that our members posted:

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Powerful, motivating stuff!

Day 5: How The Community Manager Can Help

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This post was all about how and why any DM Engage member can reach out to me so that they all get the best experience possible in the community.

As this post didn’t do much to directly address community culture OR social fear, it’s easy to see why this post got the least amount of engagement!

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Congratulated Participants

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This is a small, but important tactic.

If you want someone to do something a second time, a sure-fire way is to provide a little positive reinforcement. If a member can associate an action with a pleasant emotional response, chances are very good that they will do that same thing again in the future.

The Results

We saw many of our lurkers take varied reactions.

11% made their first post.

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versus…

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We saw people self-identify as a lurker, and share what’s been on their mind, what they’re working on, and what kept them from posting in the group for as long as they did.

17% made their first comment.

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versus…

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These were people that commented on someone else’s thread—whether it be my lurkers week thread or a post from another Engage member. They started sharing their expertise, their experience, and weighing in wherever they could (this included newbies to the group and newbies to the market).

We had plenty of people start participating and explain that they hadn’t been weighing in on the conversation because they didn’t think they knew enough to weigh in intelligently.

There were also people who knew A LOT, but were just self-doubting and assuming someone else had a better answer. Isn’t everyone afraid of being wrong at some point?

16% initiated a reaction.

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versus…

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This may not seem like a lot, but we’re talking about 16% of 10,000 people that had never so much as liked a post before.

Every potential active user in your community needs to take their first step somewhere.

It can all start with a Like.

The post [CASE STUDY] How DigitalMarketer Activated 44% of Previously Silent Community Members in 5 Days appeared first on DigitalMarketer.