How successful have your online branding efforts been? Still on the lookout for tips to improve it? Well, we all are – which is why the last week’s webinar on Online Branding Strategies was such a hit! Come listen to Mr. Radhakrishnan G founder and CEO of WebNamaste talk about online branding hacks that can effectively impact your business. Nilesh Patel, CEO of LeadSquared also participated in the session, which was followed by a lively Q&A round. For those of you who missed it, you can watch the recording here.

View the Recording

Since it was an interactive session, the audience were asked

“What are the biggest challenges in online branding that you face?”

Here we give you their responses and also remedies to rectify the challenges.

Content creation

Content is king! And to keep up with today’s smart customer who wants to be well armed with information, you have to create good content. Make sure you have a team that is dedicated to putting up well written articles. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, you can try your hand at curated content. It’s a lot less time consuming and has the added advantage of quoting popular influencers related to a particular topic. Otherwise, just tweet and retweet any good articles you can find. If you are stuck for ideas on what to write about, check out online communities like Quora or GrowthHackers. Analyze what most of the discussions center around and then structure your post accordingly.

Content distribution (reaching the masses)

Did you just spend a couple of hours writing that post? Well, spend at least that much time (or more) promoting it. Share on Facebook, Tweet in twitter, publish on your blog and send it in your weekly newsletter to your customers. If you are already doing all that and still not getting enough traffic, then I suggest you try reaching out to the influencers in your field and ask them to do a write up. If your budget allows for it, sign up with a PR agency to get published in more places. Just remember, in your zest to distribute your content, don’t come across as spammy.

Standing out from the competition

Well, half the battle is in identifying who your competition is. If you are starting out, instead of competing with the big wigs, try the players two tiers down. Eventually, as your business grows, you can raise your target category.Focus on the strengths of your product. It may not be a unique feature that you alone offer, but if that is what you do best, then play to your strengths! Let us suppose that you are in the education business – an institute that specializes in online coaching classes for GMAT. While there are numerous institutes that offer the same, they might not have your success rates or your pass percentage. So make sure you tell the world about it.

Get inspired by your competition. Monitor what they do closely and see if you can do it better. This really just means that you are smart enough not to reinvent the wheel.

A little bit of friendly rivalry is fine! Take Amazon Vs. Flipkart Vs Snapdeal. They are all big players in the e-commerce industry and are fiercely competitive. From putting up Ads side by side to teasing each other’s tag lines, they have done it all (and are still doing it). It’s a great publicity stunt and definitely makes the audience sit up and take notice!

online branding strategies

Developing trust

Now, this is a more long term goal that does not happen overnight. You develop trust with every happy customer, satisfied lead and great review. Each promise that gets delivered counts. Focus on the customer requirements rather than making a sale. If you think the customer is a bad fit, then outright say it instead of pushing your product down his throat. Your objective is to make sure your customer is happy – even if it means not selling him your product.

Association with brand

This is again a long term goal. With repeated impressions and good publicity it can be achieved. If you need quick results, organize a give-away or a contest. Quizzes and fun games are great ways to engage your brand and polish your brand image.

Lack of awareness about business

This can mean several things – either you are a pioneer, or you are not targeting the right channels (maybe your audience is not online at all), or you are just new (or even old) and need to build more brand awareness.

 Each of these would need a separate approach – in the first case, you’d need to run awareness campaigns – who is your target audience, what is the problem that you are solving – structure your campaigns around that – all the marketing channels – Facebook, Google, Twitter or LinkedIn allow you to run highly targeted campaigns. Make use of them.

If your audience is not online, build awareness using offline events, or use referrals to get some initial customers onboard.

In the final case, you need to educate your audience through content marketing, and paid advertising, and make sure you tell them that you are one of a kind. Engage your audience regularly and teach them the difference your product can make to them.

After these challenges that our audience said they faced, there were a few questions that came in as well, post-session. Here they are, along with the answers.

Question 1

How do you measure the ROI on your online branding efforts?

The first step in accurately measuring it, lies in analyzing where your traffic comes from. A tracking tool will come in handy here. You can use anything from google analytics (free) to a marketing automation software (like LeadSquared) that can accurately tell you the origin of your traffic. These tools can also tell you which ads your leads clicked, which ones elicited the most customer engagement and so on.  You can thus evaluate the effectiveness of every branding exercise you do and understand your audience better.

Numerous metrics can help in checking the reach of your branding efforts. Website traffic, amount of leads generated, number of conversions against impressions,  or sales volume or products sold can all be used. The objective of your campaign will determine which metrics would be the most ideal. If you are running a contest and want to capture the email ids of your visitors, then the metrics to focus on would be the number of email id conversions.

Once these basic metrics are sorted, you can focus on the revenue and expenditure side of the project. The cost involved for conversion and lead capture can be high at times. But remember that a captured lead might not always become a customer overnight. With repeated nurturing, you can convert him to a customer later.

Question 2

Is social media effective in generating leads or is it just for branding?

Of course you can generate leads from social media! With so many people populating the site already, it is the most powerful platform you can think of to market your product. You don’t have to woo these people to your website, you just have to tell them you are there – the reach is tremendous. In fact, after realizing its huge potential, Facebook has launched the all new lead generation ads – these ads that let you capture leads directly through a form you create on Facebook’s power editor! Don’t discount social media from getting you the leads you want, it is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Question 3

Does regular updates of blog help?

Absolutely! Posting on your blog regularly shows your readers that you are active and that you take your blog (and by extension, your business) seriously. It also tells them that you value your reader’s time and don’t keep them hanging or waiting indefinitely for updates from you. Remember our talk about building the trust factor? Well, this is an important step towards it.

Having said that, it will all depend on your business, and the channels where your audience is.

Question 4

How can we increase traffic and do branding for the website?

If you are just starting off, start with paid campaigns. Ads on social media and on any platform you can think of (relevant ones of course) to tell people you exist. Google Ads and even Ads on Bing make sense. If you want to optimize your expenses, I suggest you monitor your Ad campaign regularly.

So, you have directed your traffic to your website, but they should stick right? That means, you need to show them great content. A high bounce rate (people leaving as soon as they enter) indicates that you are not delivering what they are looking for (or are targeting the wrong audience set entirely).

Once you capture their lead, keep them engaged and nurtured with email campaigns and targeted personal emails that add value. This definitely builds your brand image and keeps your customer engaged.

Question 5

Can we continue doing our business with a different set of target audience? Like lollipops marketing to parents instead of kids?

Of course! They are two different marketing strategies all together. You target your customer base (children) or you target the decision makers (the parents). If you impress either group considerably, it will impact your sales.

Question 6

I am working on a stem cells banking blog but people are not aware of this concept. My traffic is solely from social media, limited to only those who know the concept well. Can you please suggest how I can brand it so that I can attract a lot more diverse traffic?

Whom you write to, rather than what you write makes a difference. Target young wives or married couples, around the age of 25 to 35 to get the word out. Know them well and ensure that you give them information from sources they can trust. Focus on adding solid value to your readers. The posts don’t have to necessarily focus on stem cell banking. You could write on parenting tips, infant care and nutrition and even baby rearing. The CTA about your stem cell bank could be at the very end.

You can also invite Gynaecs to do a guest column in your blog to attract traffic. Likewise, numerous websites might be on the lookout for well-informed writers. Partnering with them to publish your articles there can help immensely.

Depending upon your budget, you can check out Youtube video advertising. Make sure you put up your ads on videos that are trending for your topic. That way, people who are looking for videos related to stem cell banking will be exposed to it and the conversions could be higher.

Question 7

How can we brand ourselves if we are the middlemen between manufacturers and customers and main intention is the welfare of customers?

There you go – welfare of customers. Try branding yourself around it. A great example is Pepperfry. Their tag line is “Happy Furniture to you”. They could have focused on stylish furniture or affordable living. Instead, they chose to highlight that customer satisfaction was important.

Question 8

We are using Email marketing but nowadays open rates have gone down, and unsubscribe rates have gone up. Even though some customers are opening our mails but there is no click rate. Can you give us tips to boost it?

If your unsubscribers rate has gone up, it means your recepients  think you are spamming them and are not ok receiving emails from you. If your open rates are dwindling, then it means your headlines or subject lines are not doing the trick. Ask yourself these questions: Do I know the pulse of my audience? Is this what they are looking for? Will it add value to them? Does my subject line have a clear CTA to it? Now, tailor your email campaigns around these insights you have gathered. Its perfectly fine to spend some more time in researching your audience and their needs before coming up with a game plan.

If you think your emails are going to the spam folder, then ask your audience to check their spam folders.

Question 9

Can you give examples of great branding in a B2B context as opposed to B2C?

Don’t worry, B2C companies don’t have all the fun. B2B have a fair share themselves. Take a look at Oracle, Intel and Adobe. They have all positioned themselves as B2B companies that have a huge following online. Their Twitter and Instagram accounts are strewn with campaigns, contests, breath taking photos and overall excellent consumer engagement tactics.

Online branding strategies

Never forget that a business owner is, when all is said and done, an individual. Tapping into his emotions and targeting your ads for a separate individual can also be a good tactic. That is exactly what BigRock does when it put up ads for business owners. Though they provide online space (or website domain) for businesses, their ads target the business owners and tell them that they can make it big with their domain space. Smart eh?

Other examples are GoDaddy – rise to fame with extremely controversial ads; Maersk – popular and has a huge fan following due to the mind blowing pictures of their barges that they put up on Instagram; Cisco – staying on top of current events, posting even for national pancake day.

Online branding strategies

The list and examples are endless. Get inspired!!

Question 10

For online branding do we have to focus amazon reviews in India? 

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Before trusting the dubious internet to buy a product, wouldn’t you read as many reviews as possible? A bad review anywhere would definitely make a difference. Keeping tabs of reviews will also tell you the opinion of your audience vis a vis your product.

Question 11

What are the major channels (social media) ITES companies like CAD PLM solutions providers, software re sellers need to focus on?

LinkedIn is a very promising channel that can be harnessed. Promote your product by publishing great content that adds value. You can limit your audience group based on geography, if it makes sense for your offer. Active participation on communities like Quora and LinkedIn pulse is something you should look at. If possible, try creating a community on LinkedIn.

Question 12

How to increase the conversion of queries to customers?

The response time for each query matters. Longer the response time, lesser the chances of conversion.

Also, the kind of nurturing email campaign you carry out afterwards can play a major role. Your emails should be rich in content, very un-spammy (if that is even a word) and add solid value to your reader

We would love to know which online branding strategies work for you! Leave us a comment and let us know!

online real estate marketing


At the age of 14, after damaging my eyes and report cards for almost a year, I finally boycotted my favourite car racing game.

My mother thought it was a miracle. Overjoyed, she sung lavish praises to God, who seemed to have given in to her constant demands to make me studious.

While I never disillusioned poor Ma, I’ll let you in on the truth:

It was a two-player game, and lacking a partner, I always played (and lost) against the computer. Then, one frustrating day it dawned on me – I can never, ever beat the computer – and that’s when I quit that pointless battle for good!

If you’re a real estate agent trying to fight against the invisible, invincible internet, this little story holds a big message for you – stop fighting. 

That’s right. Online real estate marketing is a boon for you –  not simply because the web is where your customers are, but also because it promises greater reach at incredibly low costs. Here’s how you can use the e-age to your advantage –

  • Get Online

What impression do you strive to convey to a prospective client, when they first walk into your office? Probably that of a friendly, credible, trustworthy person, who is an expert in the local real estate.

Now consider this: your prospects will likely dig into your web presence before meeting you in person. That’s just why you need to invest in making it as warm and welcoming as your office. Simply creating a website or a blog is never enough. Your web presence needs to be aesthetic, rich in content, and personalized.

See how The Jills nailed online real estate marketing with their exceptional website:

online real estate marketing
online real estate marketing
  • Get Found

 Your future clients are searching for homes to buy, rent or sell on the web – and you lose half the battle if you do not come up in the first few results. To make sure prospects get to the web welcome you’ve planned, you need to optimize your site and blog for search engines.

For starters, Google’s free Keyword Planner is an easy to learn and immensely useful tool. It lets you find the search terms most common in your industry, along with insightful data on them. You can use these terms within your website to improve its ranking, and also to generate the kind of blog content that people are actively searching for.

Study & save this treasure of an infographic from Backlinko, containing all that you need to know about optimizing a web page.

  • Get Hunting

Google is not the only place where people are looking for buyers/sellers.  Your prospects could have their eyeballs on any corner of the internet –and it is vital for you to grab them all!

Here’s a basic check-list of websites you need to post on/ track:

  1. Social networks
    •  Track local Facebook groups where people search for flats/flatmates.
    • Run advanced searches on Twitter – for example, if you’re a broker in Bandra, you can find leads using the terms, ‘looking for a place’ + ‘Bandra’. This, however, is slippery ground. If you simply barge into the conversation with an ill-framed introduction, it will come across as creepy – remember, no one likes to think they’re being monitored. Instead, you must approach such leads with a polite and respectful offer to help.
  2. Classified sites such as Craigslist (worldwide), Locanto (USA), Quikr (India).
  3. Directories such as Whitepages (USA), Yell.com (UK), JustDial (India).
  4. Property Portals such as Zillow (USA), MagicBricks (India), Zoopla (UK).
  5. Google & Facebook Ads 

Looking for a complete list? Here’s an exhaustive guide we put up for real estate lead generation in India! Watch this space for more.

  • Get Engaging

You’ve welcomed your prospect into your office. What next?

You’ll offer them a glass of water, maybe call for snacks, and ease them into a friendly conversation.

Oh, so they’re new to the city and looking for an inexpensive place to stay at temporarily ? Now you’ll whip out your phone in a jiffy, and call up that cousin who owns a lodge.

When they leave, they’ll smile, place your card carefully in their wallet, and then fix up a site visit for the next day.

Just like in real life, you need to ‘nurture’ your leads online as well, before they convert to loyal, happy customers, and the trick to that is simple – be of use to them. 

online real estate marketing

To get you pumped and started, here are some proven and practical online real estate marketing ideas –

Moral of the story?

I’ll put it for you in a new-age Gandhism –

When the internet tries to slap you on the face, stop it mid-air and go for a handshake!

Hope this helped! :)

P.S. : Tried all of the above & hungry for more leads? Amp up your game with these 16 creative ideas for real estate marketing!

How to break your campaign nightmare - LinkedIn ads edition

Remember appearing for exams as a kid?

I still break into cold sweats sometimes – recurring nightmares of showing up really late, navigating through endless hallways searching for the exam room. I enter, as everyone is engrossed scribbling sentence after sentence, filling sheet after sheet. I shuffle through the paper trying to find a couple of questions to quickly answer – but wait, why is this Math; wasn’t today History day?

Stressful times, I guess. But, it never really happened. Not in school, at least.

In college, the nightmares came true. Not having prepared for the exam at all, a pen borrowed from your buddy just outside the hall, getting in, sitting there seeing everyone else write, and finally giving up and leaving.

The difference was just the degree of responsibility.

In school, there was a whole process. You prepared at least some time ahead (whether you were self-motivated, your parents made you, you were engaging in healthy competition with friends, or just because you wanted to prove a point to that cocky classmate), even revised the syllabus, and if nothing else, at least showed up with 2 sets of pens, neatly sharpened pencils and a new geometry box.

During college the whole routine fell apart. Until the day of the exam of course, when you sat all night, trying to cram everything in, and promising yourself that next semester would be different. You would study, get the routine back, be responsible.

This sense of self-scorn and motivation lasted till the exams ended, and you were back to ground zero.

Not preparing, not caring, till the next round of exams crept up.

But, what has this juvenile nightmare got to do with LinkedIn advertising?

Well, it brought me the most important realization that has helped me fix my paid campaigns across all channels – most importantly Google Adwords and LinkedIn Ads.

I was running my campaigns on auto-pilot mode

In college, I was operating on auto-pilot.

But, I have run my fair share of campaigns in the freewheeling college mode as well – setting the campaign up, and letting it run, without monitoring it very closely. Many of you would be able to relate, and I know that it’s unintentional. Marketers have a lot to do, and urgent generally gets higher priority over important.

Result – you keep putting off analyzing your campaigns, till you finally squeeze in the time, and realize you could have generated so many more leads, at much lesser cost.

Every time that happens, I am reminded of my waking nightmares that were college exams, accompanied with the resolve – I’d monitor the campaigns better this week.

In fact, in our very first tryst with LinkedIn ads, I gave up after a few weeks – money was just getting wasted, without generating a lot of leads. But, it was largely our fault. We weren’t monitoring the ads well.

It was only after we went back to the school way of obsessively organizing every single detail in the campaign, analyzing every click, and every conversion, or non-conversion regularly that we started getting better results.

The point here: Treat your paid campaigns like you treated the exams back in school – with a strong sense of responsibility. Superficially fixing a few aspects every month or so would just burn a hole in your pocket.

It’s the same with every other paid campaign that you run, but with LinkedIn, there’s more at stake, and there are certain very obvious flaws, which calls for paying more attention to your campaigns

Problems with LinkedIn Ads

  1. The clicks are more expensive (minimum click cost is 100 Rs. Or 2$)
  2. There is no conversion tracking (unlike Adwords, Facebook or Twitter) – so it’s your job to track conversions as well
  3. The quality score is measured, but the way it is measured is primitive and considers only all-time CTR and bid as the contributing factors. So, there is no real incentive for advertisers creating great ads.
  4. There is no concept of custom audience or a retargeting list, so the best you can do is choose the targeting wisely, and keep on rotating the targeting options and the ads every two weeks so that the ads don’t keep on showing to the same set of audience. In Adwords, your remarketing list keeps on growing, so your audience grows as well. But without that, LinkedIn ads just get stale very quickly.

So, yes there are limitations, but it’s definitely worth giving a shot for B2B businesses because you can generate leads that are really high-quality.

So, identify the metrics that matter, and from day 1 monitor them closely. Here’s the checklist to get you started in the right direction.

What impacts linkedin ads

Anyhow, since we geeked up on our campaigns, we have identified a few things that helped us get better results from our campaigns, and might help you too.

How I got better results with my LinkedIn Ads

1. Question type headlines worked the best for me

Like anything else, you would need to test this as well, but in the several ad copies that we ran, question headlines always got better CTR than the other variations. One particular ad that we ran targeting education industries for LeadSquared got us 25.3% higher click through rate than the other versions. The headline used a question format here.

Linkedin ads - Question type headlines

Using the same rationale, we ran our other industry-specific ads also with similar variations of headlines. We noticed that for travel ad campaigns, we got 55.35% higher CTR than the other variants.

LinkedIn ads - Question type headlines in targeting travel businesses

Having said that, you should try non-question type variants as well, but very clearly calling out to your target audience, or using keywords they would easily identify with.

2. Target well: Targeting might be limited, but it’s accurate

LinkedIn advertising has the advantage of being a professional network, over other social media platforms. Professionals are looking to connect with other like-minded professionals or looking for potential opportunities. So, they fill out their professional details much better than they would on Facebook.

Result – the targeting on LinkedIn would be really accurate compared to all the other platforms.

It has great targeting option that allows you to target people by seniority, their job titles etc.

To-do

Look into your existing customer profile, and assess who are the people buying from you the most – are they managers, are they sales professionals etc. and you would be able to target well.

LinkedIn Ads - targeting options

3. Add LinkedIn groups also to the targeting option

LinkedIn allows targeting based on the groups your audience is in as well. So, you can make a list of all the groups relevant to your target audience, and target people based on that.

LinkedIn ads - Group based targeting

4. Suppress your competitors & customers from seeing your ads

LinkedIn targeting allows you to save a lot of clicks by suppressing your competitors and your customers from seeing the ad.

Exclusion Targeting in LinkedIn ads

5. Using bright images got much better CTR than other variants

One ad of ours that outperformed everyone else was a real estate e-book ad. Though the offer itself was more appealing (free e-book) than free trial of software, we ran several different image versions.

The version that worked the best was a bright pink image of a download button (the downwards arrow). This outperformed the e-book image and everything else that we used.

Image colors - LinkedIn ads

So, use shocking colors, and let the image complement your ad, because the image is really very small (50*50px)

6. Use landing pages

Now, we have one thing established – LinkedIn clicks are expensive, and clicks not easy to get either. So, when you do manage to get the clicks, don’t waste them. Use landing pages to capture your leads, with a strong offer. E-books and webinars is what have got us the best conversions so far.

You might have already heard about Facebook’s lead ads. One interesting thing to note is, LinkedIn used to have a one click advertising option as well, in which you would get notified in case someone expressed an interest in your ad. It’s curious why LinkedIn retired it, but they did. It might be time they’d think about bringing it back, given how less the revenue LinkedIn is making from its advertising options is.

7. The holy grail – analysis and improvement

The platform itself might have a lot of flaws, but the reports have some insights that can help you to make some serious improvements. As you can see in the image below, we can see the industries, job roles, size of the company etc. of the people who are engaging with our ads.

LinkedIn Ads Reports

Now, if you look at these reports regularly, you can easily identify if you are showing up in segments you don’t want to target. You can modify your campaigns after that by excluding those segments. But, you’ll do this only if you keep vigil, and not fall back to the comfort of letting your ads run on auto-pilot.

So, yes, these are a few things that can help you tweak your LinkedIn campaigns a little.

I would close this by adding there are quite a few things marketers expect from LinkedIn ads, and adding these would encourage businesses to invest more on them.

What marketers expect from LinkedIn Ad Platform

  • Conversion pixel – An advertising platform with no conversion tracking is very odd. They would make the campaign analysis easier for marketers by adding this option, and would increase the usability of their reports as well.
  • Remarketing – When advertisers are not even able to retarget the people who left the site without converting, they would see far less value in LinkedIn ads. The clicks are expensive, so there should be some potential benefit from these unconverted clicks as well.
  • List based targeting – It’s on all the platforms now – Google, Facebook and Twitter, so this would be much appreciated.
  • Bring the one-click ads back, or better yet, create Facebook leads like option

There are many other things, but addressing these issues would be a good way to start. All right, I’ll keep these back-to-school PPC campaign posts coming, and would follow up with details of how you can fix your other campaigns next – Adwords most importantly. So, stay tuned.

How well have you been keeping up with the latest trends in the digital marketing field? If you want the complete list, watch our webinar on “Paid – Digital Marketing Year End Checklist”. Here Meenu Joshi – the Digital Marketing Manager at LeadSquared talks about the newest updates that have been rolled out on the online media channels (like Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – the usual suspects). You can access the recording here .

The session was followed by an interesting Q&A session. The summary of the same is given hereunder.

How to put up Instagram ads?

To put up Instagram Ads, you need to have a Facebook account. Currently you shall have to use the Power Editor or Facebook APIs. The Ad will have a “sponsored” tag at the top and shall appear along with the user’s regular newsfeed. The orientation would be landscape of square, depending on what has been chosen by you while setup. Every ad will contain a CTA. Your description of the ad will be shown beneath the CTA. Remember, the Instagram user can provide feedback to your ad and also choose to opt out of it. So choose your target audience wisely. If your target group is faulty, you will have people opting out of seeing your Ad or worse, giving negative feedback about it. Both of these could be disastrous to your campaign.

When you refer to “audience insights” is there anything in particular you check? What demography should we focus on?

Well, we discussed Facebook’s audience insights in the webinar, but it’s available in Twitter as well. I shall get to that in a bit. About, the Facebook insights, the great part is that you can choose your target audience even before running the ads, and check their preferences – so you should see the devices that they generally use (if mobile, you’d know that using mobile newsfeed would be a good option), then you should look at their demography options, and the pages they have liked. It will give you a good idea of what your targeting should be like.

Audience
Pages they like

Simply put, it gives you more information about your audience on both the sites so that you can customize your ads to suit their behavior and trend. Just so you know, this is different from the “Page Insights”. The latter gives the user trends on the interaction the audience has had with the user page (viz. when does it get maximum traffic, how many people shared or liked the post, the user comments etc.). On the other hand, “Audience Insights gives you information of users across Facebook and Twitter. Here is an example of how the insights page looks on Twitter:

Twitter_insights

(Source: Twitter blog: https://blog.twitter.com/2015/introducing-audience-insights)

What you need to focus on in particular will depend solely on the purpose of your ads. Say, you want to sell a new cosmetic cream for women. You shall then choose women (in the demographics), see if you can find those interested in beauty and make up, check their purchasing behavior so that you can time your ads. If you are a travel company, then you will definitely target those who have listed “travel” in their interest. The mobile footprint will tell you the mobile usage behavior of your target group, so that you can tailor make some mobile friendly landing pages and campaigns solely for them.

The list of possibilities is quite vast. Put a lot of thought into how you are going to target your audience though. It will drastically affect the performance of your ads.

How do we suppress competition from seeing our Ads on LinkedIn?

Now, am really glad you spoke about competition exclusion. It gives one a number of advantages. What better way to maintain exclusivity and secrecy (to some extent) about your ad copy if your competition cannot view it?! Exclusion targeting on LinkedIn is the way to go!

You can exclude your competitors by including the company names in the exclusion list.

Simply go to your campaign and select “Edit” option next to “Audience”. In the options that come up, just choose “Exclude” for every category. In addition to exclusion by company name, you can exclude your audience based on their, job title, skill sets, and even company size! This is also a great way to exclude your co-workers from clicking on your ad and wasting money. By excluding them, you can ensure that the ad is not served to them in the first place.

Quick tip: Excluding competition might not make sense for all ads. If you are trying to hire someone for a position in your company, wouldn’t you want suitable candidates, even if they belong to your competition, applying for it?! On the other hand, this kind of exclusion is seen even in Google AdWords where companies fiercely guard their keywords to ensure that the competition doesn’t get wind of it and start bidding wars. What better way to lull your competition into a false sense of security if your ad does not show up for a particular set of key words?!

Any tips for B2B businesses focused on education?

Oh Yes! Tips aplenty! For B2B businesses focused on education, I think all the channels would work well – LinkedIn, Adwords, Facebook and Twitter. So, they should divide the budget up initially, then once they start generating leads, they should analyze which channel is getting the best leads at the lowest cost, and invest more on that.

Is there a way to tell Google to show extensions according to our preference?

Google Ad extensions are according to our preferences!  You can choose to show ad extensions like “Location” or “Reviews” or “Apps” etc. For mobile specific landing pages, it would be a good idea to include the direct call link button. Remember to ad atleast a few ad extensions. Not only does it increase the real estate of your ad and thus makes it more visible, it will also avoid drop-offs with every increased click if your audience can find what they are looking for right there.

That being said, some ad extensions – like seller ratings, consumer ratings, social extensions, dynamic sitelink extensions, dynamic snippet extensions and previous visits are automatically added by Google if it thinks that it will increase the CTR of your ad.

Is it better to have a responsive page for Ad words ad campaigns or is it better to have two separate pages for mobile and desktop computers?

Responsive landing pages are always the way to go!! It is the best way to capture and track leads. It is a good thing to think of your mobile users as well (given the huge number of those who  depend on their phones) so just ensure that your page is mobile friendly.

Small business marketing the Honey Singh way

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of LeadSquared)

Loved, hated, accused, hyped, but never ignored. Honey Singh is everywhere – in the movies, clubs, on the radio, or blaring from the car stereos. In an already saturated Bollywood music industry where new pop singers arrive frequently and vanish even faster, this undisputed superstar holds his ground firmly.

What keeps him going? Sure, he is talented. But, even more so, he has an audience understanding of a seasoned marketer. Critics might write off his talent as a musician, but no one can write off his success. Here are a few tactics that worked for him, which would also make excellent small business marketing strategies, if done right.

Focuses only on his audience

He still disguises himself to sit among the youth to find the next idea for his song.

First, he knows who his target audience is. Second, he doesn’t disappoint them. Clubs, fashion, alcohol, parties is what his fans seem to relate with, and that’s what he delivers. Be it a music album, films or concerts, he is always in sync with his audience. And he does it consistently, which makes him so popular.

And, he didn’t just assume his audience’s preferences either. He has written songs on themes like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, substance deaddiction, and the likes, but they never got the attention his other songs did. So, he stuck to what works. “People would listen to what they like.”

When he entered the music scene, there weren’t many Punjabi pop artists on the charts. The clubs and parties would buzz with American Hip Hop and EDM. Well, they still do, but no party seems to end without Honey Singh. He found his niche. And, ever since, hasn’t done anything that drives him away from it. Result – he delivers hits, one after the other.

Small business marketing takeaway #1 : Understand your audience

Used social media ingeniously

It all started with a YouTube video.

After struggling to find work for 8 months, he released a controversial track in 2009 on YouTube, which became extremely popular among the youngsters. It was already a known voice before he even entered the market. Since that song, he hasn’t looked back. Today, he is the highest paid music artist in Bollywood (paid ₹ 70 lakhs for an upcoming film Mastaan). On social media he has:

  • Over 11 Million followers across Twitter and Facebook
  • Nearly 310 Million Combined views on His YouTube videos.
  • Over and above 250000 Combined YouTube subscribers.
  • Honey Singh’s “Brown Rang” was acclaimed the most-watched YouTube Video of 2012 in India.

Small business marketing takeaway 2 : Use social media well

Small business marketers need to first identify the channels their audience frequent, and then concentrate on distributing content there. Anywhere else, and you would just be sending postcards to a ghost-town.

He is fresh and attracts attention

He may not have the best voice, but he is unique. If we look at history, the artists who have been commercial successful, have one thing in common – they sound uncommon. Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Eminem or Rihanna – they don’t sound like anyone else. The world welcomes the new and that’s what Honey Singh is. Eventually someone fresh and unique will take the center stage to wipe him out YoYo too, but till then, party yuhi chaalegi.

High quality videos, young models, upbeat music and flashy lyrics combined give him a powerful pull of attraction. He draws his share of criticism too, but it seems to add up to his popularity. He says, “Notoriety gets all the attention. Everyone is constantly observing the errant kids to see what they will do next.” Even the ones who don’t understand his lyrics are also found dancing to his tunes. EDM artist Skrillex gave Honey Singh a shout-out in a recent interview stating his wish to collaborate with him. To emphasize his popularity:

  • People of 27 different languages are listening to His music.
  • Highest paid singer in the South Asian film industry, Bollywood.
Small business marketing takeaway 3 : Be unique

 

When you translate this to marketing terms, you would see hundred clones of one trend that took over some time ago, but they go unnoticed. When you see this in your customer segment, try something new – anything that breaks away from the status quo.

Coming back to our original discussion – fan following of 11 million on social media, highest paid in the industry and a market built and owned by him – isn’t this what a small business marketer dreams to achieve for their brand one day?

Good and bad things are said about Honey Singh. I am neither supporting him nor criticizing him. I just see an artist, who really knows his audience, and from whom we can learn a thing or two about marketing.

Do you know the question that my mother used to hate the most?

“What’s for dinner?”

Barely would she have completed preparing a delicious snack (after a sumptuous lunch, mind you) and she is forced once again to think about what new to make for dinner. Spoilt little brats!

For a content marketer in the health and wellness segment, the challenge is pretty similar. He is constantly expected to produce new and engaging content to feed the hungry audience… the hungry audience that is becoming increasingly health conscious and is voraciously devouring every piece of information possible. So, the stuff that he brings to the table cannot be repeated! Oh golly, no!! Re-packaged, yes! Repeated? No!

When faced with such an inspiration crisis, my mother would consult an age old recipe book that has been handed down to her by her mother (my grammy has remarkable foresight!) and voila! She would whip up super awesome food again! Treat this post as that recipe book – your tailor made recipe book for health blog ideas.

Motivating content

What is the most common answer to the question “When are you going to join a fitness program?” “Later.” And for those people whose “later” is already here, it’s a challenge to continue. Now, let us not speculate as to why this is so. Between laziness and lack of time, it could be a plethora of things. What you can do however is to motivate these people to adopt a fitness regimen.

Posting success stories

Give the world live examples of people who have already done it. Those busy men and women who are no different from the millions of other busy men and women and yet found the time to make fitness a priority. Let them know repeatedly that it is doable and not unattainable.

Image galleries 

Yes, I know you have high definition images. But nobody wants to look at a glamorous model having a beauty treatment or a fit trainer working out. Put up images (good quality ones) of people whom your customers can relate to. It could be of your existing customers who enjoyed your programs or it could even be of regular people working out at your establishment.

Quick tips

The word ‘Quick’ will immediately have your audience interested. Yes! They want things fast. They want things yesterday. They want to do things quickly. Putting up health tips that can be easily incorporated in a daily routine (like drinking green tea or eating an early dinner) tell them that changing for a healthier lifestyle can be begun simple and easy.

Informative content

With the increasing attention given to one’s wellness, a lot of fads and rumors have sprouted up to being “easy” or “get well quick” methods. This, combined with a lot of bad habits already in place, has left the audience hunting for reliable content.

Guest columns

See if you can get an article written by someone who is an authority on the subject. A well-known dietician or a fitness expert who can provide scientific information and valid suggestions for wellness. Some great ideas are – wellness and fitness for women during and post pregnancy by a gynecologist; healthy eating habits and diet advice for children; articles focusing on juvenile obesity etc.

Myth busters

So what is the newest fad in the health and wellness industry today? Why its “the miracle” diet pill of course. For those of you who do not know, it is a pill made with Garcinia cambogia ‘extracts’ and is the perfect ticket to lose weight even without making changes in dietary habits. Clearly, it is making waves in the fitness world with some celebrities endorsing it and quite a few doctors advising against it. As expected, it has the weight loss enthusiasts running around like headless chicken, unsure of what to trust. Now would be a great idea to publish a well-researched article on the pros and cons of the pill and take a stand in the whole issue. If you do plan to denounce it, then you can offer a whole new fitness program (including a diet plan) that can get you in shape in a lot healthier way. Bonus points if you can identify such fads as and when they come up and bust them. Not only will your audience unconsciously adopt you as their reliable source, they will perceive you as an organization that knows what it’s doing. So the next time they want a fitness consultation, where do you think they will go?!

Ask – me Columns

Anonymity is a powerful thing. It liberates people from the burden of recognition and allows them to ask even the most personal of questions. Anything from sexual health to pimple problems can be discussed freely on your newsletter columns (well, it can be done in person as well, but some shy customers who are fiercely private about their problems much prefer the relative anonymity afforded by the print). Encouraging your readers to participate and contribute to your “Ask – Me” page promotes customer engagement and also adds value for him.

Themed content

New programs coming up? That is indeed wonderful news!! Why that just gave you a whole list of content ideas, right there – content themed around your new promotion.

Related posts

Let’s say that you are introducing a Swedish massage therapy that is designed to tackle stress. Instead of writing on only how your massage therapy helps, you can also write about everyday practices on handling stress at workplace and at home. Including at CTA at the end of the post, to promote your offer would get a lot of clicks.

Video content

No, I have not forgotten about it. Videos still do have more engagement rates than regular posts. High quality videos across various channels, videos on your website that talks about the various advantages of your Swedish massage are a definite must have additions.

Fun facts

Did you know that people like knowing little obscure things? That 40% of the people are more willing to blindly trust fun facts than do proper research? That one of the primary ways to grab attention is by telling them an unknown fact that is interesting yet very relevant?!

So What are you waiting for?! Go forth, create great content and keep your readers hooked!!

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