Follow Up to My Near Miss ($3000 Fraud)

I’m sharing this story again because it’s important to spread the word.
And I have a slight follow-up…

As I wrote about in my previous post, it was the employees at Save-on Foods (a grocery store) who saved me. It took THREE of them to get me to stop and not purchase $3000 in gift cards because I was so certain on my mission (and confident that *I* would never get caught by fraud).

When the first two clerks kept saying “this sounds like fraud,” I promptly sluffed them off. I had my card laid on the counter to pay! The manager is the one that finally woke me up when he asked, “Have you actually spoken to your boss?” Yikes.

Here’s the follow up:
Today, I was at a different Save-on location and told my story to the clerk who was serving me. She was so happy for me and when I said it was the Save-on people who made all the difference, she told me a different version of the same story…
The other day a gentleman came in to buy cards and wouldn’t listen to her when she tried to warn him. He was so certain and, his case, he actually purchased the cards. The clerk said to me: a lot of people just don’t want to hear us when we try to warn them.

BTW, there’s no returning gift cards.

We’ve gotten so comfortable communicating via email and text that some of us (as in me) think of it the same as talking to someone. And it’s not!

Why don’t we (as in me) listen to the grocery clerks who are trying to help us?! Is it arrogance?

Some of us (yep, me again) don’t even listen to ourselves.

I had a little voice inside saying, “hmmm, this seems weird,” but I so quickly talked myself out of paying attention and came up with some kind of reason to not listen. How many other times in my life have I done that? A lot, I suspect.

AND, in an effort to be gracious to me, this person (the fraudster) attempted to take advantage of my kindness. I wanted to help my boss. Which I will continue to do. I’ll just be more cognizant of how I go about doing that in the future. 🙂

I’ll try to never get taken in by fraud again.
LOLOL

I say that knowing I’m still not immune. So, while I can’t guarantee I won’t fall for some scheme again, I will venture to listen to myself.

Knowing I will likely not listen again.

But perfection is not the goal here.
Connection is.

I Was Almost Defrauded $3000…and it’s the Best Thing That Happened to Me

I was almost defrauded out of $3000.
ALMOST.
That’s an essential part of the story so that you know, first of all, all is okay. The next, and probably the most important part, is that there are some really really great people out there. What happened to me two days ago PROVES to me that there is more good than bad around us.

A couple of days ago, an email came through my work address seemingly from my boss (spoiler: it wasn’t). The email asked for my urgent help since she was in a conference. I responded…of course!

She asked for my cel number. (Weird, I thought. She has it already. But oh well. Maybe she’s on a different phone.) And I give it.

The text came through immediately. She needed a bunch of gift cards in the next 30 minutes and could I go get them. Since I’m new at my job and eager to please, I hastily said YES and jumped up from my desk, whisking off to purchase the much needed cards.

In my mind, I’m planning my route and decided to go to Save-On Foods (a grocery store on the way to my boss’s office). On the way to the store, I listen to a podcast which happens to be about slowing down and paying attention in your life. (Ya. We need to do that more, I think to myself.)
I proceed to the store with haste.

Once I’m at the store, I briskly walk to the gift cards. As I start counting out the cards, THAT’s when it hits me that this is gonna be three grand! Yikes! I better warn my husband – right after I texted my “boss” confirming that I was going to be reimbursed the same day.

There’s not enough cards here. So I ask a clerk if they have more somewhere. She immediately asked if this was a fraudulant purchase. WHAT?! No, I say.
She says: well an elderly lady was defrauded last week.
I respond: oh well. THIS is for work. (In other words, I’m way too smart to be taken in by fraud.)

I take the cards to the customer service counter and the cashier says: arrrre youuuuuuu suuuuuuuure? This seems like fraud. We see it all the time.
And I say: Well it isn’t; it’s for my work. (Boy these people are freaking out, I think. My boss and I are going to have a laugh about this later.)
I laid my card on the counter to pay.

Then the manager comes over.
He says: Um. Are you sure this is legit?
I say: Look. This is for my work. (I’m feeling impatient now.)
And he says: did you actually talk to your boss?
And I say: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So, I phone my boss (just to prove them wrong) and when she answers, her voice is all casual and I think…fuck.
Hey, I say: did you send me to get gift cards?
She responds: ummm no.
And the house of mirrors came crashing around me and the truth was standing there in a sleazy dress. I. Could. Not. Believe. IT!!!!!

I thanked the store people profusely and all but ran to my car feeling like a complete idiot. I felt like I could throw up and the self abuse came crashing in:
How could I have been so stupid? What if I had gone through with it? OMG. What will my husband say? The store people must think I’m a moron. My boss will regret hiring such an idiot. And on. And on.
And on. I wanted to run away and hide and never come out.

I drove home and called a friend who, thankfully, pulled me back from the metaphorical cliff of self-condemnation.
And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Fast forward to today…I attend Tom Compton’s weekly group inquiry/meditation. He guided us through exploring the belief “This is serious.”

For those who don’t know, Tom faciliates a process called The Work of Byron Katie which is a method where we question stressful thoughts using four simple questions:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?

So, naturally, when it comes to being NEARLY defrauded out of $3000, that’s pretty serious, right?
I thought so, too.

What I learned is that it definitely sucks. It was even kind of scary. However, with the belief of “this is serious” on top of it, I also felt really shitty about myself. I’m hearing in my childhood memory one of my parents (or some other adult figure) say: what were you thinking Debbie?! This is serious. SMARTEN UP!

With the belief “this is serious”, I’ve got to be on alert. I have to warn everyone. I’ve even got to feel a little ashamed. I tell the story to others in a really serious tone of voice. I feel traumatized even.

Wow, heh?

Without the belief? I feel so much lighter. I feel relief. I have room to really feel grateful for all the people looking out for me. The podcast I was listening to, the grocery store employees, my friend…and my boss. Who was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sweet, by the way. So many things and people to be grateful for. I now know what to look for in fraudulant emails and it didn’t cost me a dime. I’ve learned to slow down and, maybe, even listen to myself. If I can, that is.

During the Tom class, I texted the fraudster (yes, I still have their number). I told the person that I was originally really angry and humilated but now feel grateful for the experience.
They responded: lol Be happy.
I replied: You too. (After I first said to myself, WTF! This was serious!)

Tom played this song for us at the end of our session. It’s a great reminder!

Lashing Out When Our Feelings Get Hurt

Someone says or does something and, in response, we feel hurt. Sometimes that hurt mascarades as anger, righteousness, or resentment but it’s hurt just the same.

But instead of owning our feelings, we push them down and out. Away from us at the one who perpetrated this hurt onto us.

Why?

Because it’s so damn painful. Those hurt feelings are confusing. We don’t even want to feel this way so owning them is kind of like giving in.
And, after all, it’s the other person’s fault. They should be the ones suffering, not us.

So, we do the thing that we think will stop this hurt. We lash out. We yell or give them the cold shoulder. Or, in the digital world, we write a passive agressive post online about them hoping that they will feel an ounce of the pain we feel. They deserve it, after all.

This all comes from our own unmet needs. Most likely from childhood.
Ya, it’s the old inner child gambit.

It’s okay if you don’t believe it. There’s a way you can test it out. The next time you feel that hurt, anger, or resentment, ask yourself:

How do you feel..right now?

Inevitably, you will notice you feel young. Real young. Because that is where all of our hurt comes from. Every single time we’re hurt or angry, it’s a hurt or anger that was never resolved from childhood.

Again…it’s okay if you don’t believe me. Test it out for yourself. And then what?

That pain is an opportunity to meet the need that was never met. It’s the opportunity to listen to yourself in a way that you’ve never been listened to before. It’s your chance to be forgiven…completely. It’s your time to be there for the little precious one in you that was abondoned, overlooked, unaccepted, shamed, belittled, and abused.

It’s your time to be loved.

Reclaiming our Power as Patrons of the News

Journalists have been enslaved by a system obsessed with selling stories, which creates journalists who become enslaved by seeking stories that sell. Trust in the news is waning, but I do not believe the fault starts and ends with journalists. News media is a business, and to stay afloat, stories must sell; if journalists do not toe the line, they get fired, as seen in the case of the firing of Emily Wilder from the Associated Press (Bastani, 2021, 1:31). The perception of the news as trustworthy is changing – for the worse. However, the degradation of trust is not only justified but is not a new phenomenon, despite the intention behind the concept of a “free press.” It is worth considering that if journalists are enslaved, who is perpetrating slavery?

Various techniques used by media agencies to manipulate the public are plentiful, and with digital advancements, they are becoming more sophisticated. As the consumers of news, we need to educate ourselves on the tactics, like those laid out in the article by Andrea Bellemere (Bellemere, 2019). We need to realize that our points of view are commodities that politicians and corporations abuse for their agendas. We must protect them with critical thinking for our sake and for that of society.

There are many examples of false and misleading news stories learned to be funded by corporations. Barbara McLintock (2004) relays a tale of deception, funded bias training, and blatant corruption practices on behalf of the tobacco industry.  In this example, after Philip Morris, a tobacco mogul, financially contributed to a school for journalism, he began what can only be called bias-training of impressionable journalists with seminars about second-hand smoke (para. 12).  It is not surprising that graduates of this school later wrote articles supporting the tobacco industry.

The idea of news media agencies as objective fact-tellers is a deep line of disinformation. It is so deep that we have taken it on as a kind of ethos, just like those families who believed in the veracity of Alternative Math (Ideaman, 2017).  As far back as the 1800ss, the news portrayed Indigenous peoples negatively using misleading content (Lisk, 2020, para. 8). Due, in part to the lie of objectivity, we blindly believed the typecasts like the “drunken Indian” (para. 8).  It was part of a vast conspiratorial movement perpetrated on society to engender stereotypes and hatred towards an entire race of people, making statues like the Indian Act possible.

Maybe journalists are scapegoats for the failure in news integrity. Yes, they play their part since they create the content, but it is a deeper problem that, as critical thinkers, we must scrutinize.  We must ask ourselves who is behind the agenda for the content. However, we also must look in the mirror. After all, if journalists are at fault for writing misinformation, what part does the consumer play? It would be all too easy to claim innocence, but we must own that we have far too long taken a back seat to our news consumption.  It is time to break the shackles of enslavement and reclaim our power as intelligent patrons of the news.

References

Bastani , A. (2021, June 7). Why The media can’t tell the truth on israel & palestine | The bastani Factor. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNGf6vv_qaY

Bellemere, A. (2019). The real ‘fake news’: how to spot misinformation and disinformation online. CBC News.

Ideaman. (2017, September 19). Alternative math | Short film. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh3Yz3PiXZw

Lisk, S. (2020, September 3). Rewriting journalism: How Canadian media reinforces Indigenous stereotypes. Retrieved from TVO: https://www.tvo.org/article/rewriting-journalism-how-canadian-media-reinforces-indigenous-stereotypes

McLintock, B. (2004). Cancerous journalism. The Tyee, 4.

Love is the Power – The Work as Meditation

Go to Tom’s website to find information on this and other
events being offered.

Using exercises, sacred poetry, music, movement and group dynamics woven together to support us in honouring, seeing clearly, and stepping out of old paradigms that no longer serve us in loving Life as it unfolds.

Through The Work as meditation we can begin to bring everything within ourselves, heaven and hell, dark and light, into the “light” of conscious awareness and finally begin to meet it all with love and understanding.

These retreats are ideal for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners in The Work.

Discover for yourself how this Work can awaken an unconditionally kind and loving presence within you.

Dates
October 14-17, 2021

Schedule
Thursday: 7-9 pm
Friday & Saturday: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 9:30am – 5:00 pm

Cost:
Early Bird until Sep 1st: $425 CAD

New participant rate: $450 CAD
Repeater rate: $400 CAD

Address given upon registration.
Limited seating.

Register Now
• 
Send the fee above to Debbie here: paypal.me/DebbieBridge73
and
• ​Send her an email to confirm that you’ve registered through payment: debbiebridge73@gmail.com

Cancellation policy
Due to limited seating and Tom flying in: full refunds (less a $50 processing fee per participant) will be offered before September 15 if you have to cancel. No refunds after unless we are able to fill your spot in which case your tuition will be refunded, less a $50 processing fee per participant. If you do not send advance notice of your cancellation, if you do not attend, or if you leave the workshop early, your payment is non-refundable and non-transferable.

Questions?
​Contact Debbie for more information at debbiebridge73@gmail.com

Testimony

I have been attending Tom’s workshops for the last 10 years and no facilitator has impacted me more than Tom. Probably the most important learning for me was to realize that most of my stressful thoughts and beliefs are not actually true. They are stories I am telling myself to try and make sense of the world and to prevent me from feeling deep pain. In Tom’s workshops I have learned to question my beliefs and the judgements that come along with them. I realize that I am looking at life – big or small things – through my core beliefs around “right or wrong” and “good or bad”, rather than looking at reality and recognizing that things simply “are” – independent of what I think of them.

Besides using the tools of The Work by Byron Katie, Tom shares music and readings to underline his messages. This Rumi poem has become my favorite:
“Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing lies a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.”

I am on the long journey to that field, on the journey to Love. When I asked Tom how to live without the concept of “right or wrong” guiding me, he suggested to tap into my heart, and to let Love guide me. I had no idea how to do that, or what that even means, until I remembered how I approached life when I was a young boy. I let my heart guide me to discover the things I loved to do, like building my Fort and climbing on top of things.

I am grateful that I continue to feel more peaceful and more loving and accepting of myself, others and of all the crazy things that happen in the world. Tom has been a major influence along the way: experiencing his honest, loving approach to help me identify and deal with my stories and beliefs, watching him work with others and their life stories, hearing about his own journey and the work he has put in to living his life fully and with joy.

Glen

No ‘Period’ is a Complete Sentence

No photo description available.

No is enough. It’s enough of an answer. For you AND for me. And I don’t need a good reason to say it.

Even if someone asks me why I’m saying no, no can be enough. I don’t need to justify my no to anyone.

Not.
Even.
To.
Me!

If an answer of no becomes apparent to me, I can let that be enough. I don’t need an excuse. I don’t need to find the right words. I don’t even need you to understand. I can trust the no. I can trust me.

Content Marketing ROI: Case Study

I am a facilitator at Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) Society, a non-profit organization that provides programming for families with children (youth or adult) struggling with addiction. I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades with PEP. I facilitate group meetings, perform HR processes, create webinars and material for social media marketing efforts. Since we’ve been fully online during the pandemic, we struggle with:

•          attendance to our meetings and webinars and

•          awareness of the organization.

I will apply the steps learned in this LinkedIn Learning video series to PEP by exploring:

In addition, I will apply concepts gleaned from a blog post by Erin Gilday, which explicitly describes marketing rules for parents of young adults with addiction (Gilday, 2018). The Website was an exciting find in my research.

1.    PEP Stakeholders

PEP is a small non-profit organization, but there are still many stakeholders to consider.

Stakeholders with Authority:

  • Board of directors
  • Executive Director

Stakeholders impacted by the success of a content marketing strategy are:

  • the facilitators
  • the participants who attend the meetings
  • the communities affected by healthier families
  • the workplaces of the families
  • HR person (if more families attend, we may have to hire more facilitators)

Stakeholders who contribute are:

  • Executive Director (she oversees posting and keeping the Website up to date)
  • Me (I’m in charge of creating marketing materials)

2.    Identify Goals

Goal: Awareness

  • Increased awareness of our programming
  • Reaching more families who need our services
  • Community organizations becoming aware of us so that they can provide referrals
  • Reaching potential donors or sponsors

Goal: Engagement

  • Reactions and sharing of our social media content

Goal: Lead Generation

  • An increase of people signing up for our email list
  • An increase of those asking about our webinars
  • An increase of people who search for help, landing on our Website

Goal: “Sales”

  • An increase of participants attending a PEP meeting for the first time
  • An increase of people attending our free webinars
  • An increase in donations and grants

Goal: Retention

  • Retaining current participants through reminders of the need for family recovery
  • Getting recommended by current attendees

Goal: Cross “Selling”

  • For those who attended a free webinar to participate in a meeting
  • An increase of calls to our support line

1.    Primary Goal with the most significant impact: Brand Awareness

We all know someone who is dealing with addiction or a substance use issue. But, unfortunately, there are many families suffering who do not know there is help available. Addiction is a family disease, and, as such, families need support and recovery. Therefore, sadly, the demand and the need are present. However, if they do know, they are not aware of PEP. The more people who know and understand the impacts on families, and are aware that help like PEP exists, the more people we can help.

2.    Metrics aligned with our primary goal: Brand Awareness

  • The volume of searches for our service
  • Traffic to our Website
  • Number of impressions on our posts
  • Press mentions
  • Brand mentions online from other trusted organizations/people

Content Development

Considering the steps Wilson (2020) underlines as essential to keep in mind, I will apply these to PEP’s increasing awareness.

  1. Target Clients
  2. Content types
  3. Resources
  4. Content that will support organizational objectives

PEP’s Clients

The clients who attend PEP meetings are families who are often in a traumatized state. They are at their wit’s end; all they want is to save their children from the devastating outcomes of addiction.

They would most resonate with messages of hope and a knowledge that they are not alone; support and camaraderie are available.

Gilday (2018) points that those who are addicted may also land on our Website through a search. They could direct traffic to their families.

Gilday (2018) says that marketing to parents of those suffering from addiction is like marketing to parents of college students (para.10). They ask similar questions such as “how do you keep them safe?”

Content Types

  1. Our Website: pepsociety.ca
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Lead Magnets
  4. Gilday (2018) suggests creating Lead magnets. These are free pieces of content that they can get in exchange for their contact information. Examples that we could use are:

Resources

  • The primary resource for any campaign we create will be the Executive Director and me.
  • The Board of Directors includes families and concerned community members; we could ask them to contribute content
  • The other facilitators may feel called to write content
  • Financial resources will come in the form of grants and sponsorship
  • The time available is limited

Content that will support goals

Lead Magnets

  • Free eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Gilday (2018) suggests setting up a landing page dedicated to one Lead magnet
    • The 4 Cs of Family Recovery would be ideal: I can’t control, I can’t cure it, I didn’t cause it, but I can change.

Website content

  • According to Gilday (2018), providing a separate page specifically for parents makes it simple for them to find the information they need.
  • Ensure we answer the question, “how do you keep them safe” on our Website

Email Marketing

  • Speak directly to parents in the marketing campaigns addressing specific pain points about their children
  • Choose the right time
  • Use first names in the subject line
  • Send two emails per month, according to Gilday (2018)

More to apply

There is, of course, much more that I could apply. However, the information in this video series excites me and has given me much to consider. Therefore, I’ve set up a meeting with my Executive Director to brainstorm applying the skills in this series.

References

Bishop, A. (2017, January 6). Choosing an attribution model: when, not which. Retrieved from Search Engine Land: https://searchengineland.com/choosing-attribution-model-not-266909

Brenner, M. (2020, February 24). How to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Retrieved from Marketing Insider Group: https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/develop-content-marketing-strategy-not-plan/

Gilday, E. (2018, May 14). 5 rules for marketing addiction treatment to parents of young adults with sud. Retrieved from Little Light Copywriting: https://www.littlelightcopywriting.com/blog/5-rules-for-marketing-addiction-treatment-to-parents-of-young-adults-with-sud

How to pick the right analytics attribution model when there’s no right answer. (2021). Retrieved from Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-analytics-attribution-model/

The modern digital marketing funnel: explained. (2019, July 31). Retrieved from Blue Corona: Measurable marketing solutions: https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/new-digital-marketing-funnel-strategies/

Wilson, V. (2020, November 4). Content marketing: roi. retrieved from linkedin learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/content-marketing-roi/why-calculate-roi-of-content-marketing?u=2109516

Content Marketing ROI: Part 5 of Social Media Marketing Series

Content Marketing: ROI

As we’ve learned through this Social Media Marketing series, creating a content marketing strategy has several considerations. It also, frankly, takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. Therefore, it makes sense that you would want to measure and track your results, not only for yourself but your stakeholders. In the LinkedIn Learning video by Velera Wilson, “Content Marketing: ROI,” we will learn about the importance of tracking ROI (Return on Investment) and how to do it using an actionable plan (Wilson, 2020).

Establishing Content Marketing Goals

Wilson points out that it’s not enough to get buy-in for your content marketing strategy from your immediate department or team. You need to check in with other groups (or stakeholders) in your company. Meeting content marketing goals, especially in the long run, requires that they understand the plan, the goals, and the process so that they fully support your efforts.

Stakeholders? What’s that?

You are a stakeholder of any project in which you participate, but there are many others. Stakeholders are anyone who benefits from your project. These could include your team members, boss, other departments, clients, and even your competitors. It could also be the bank with which you have your business loan or your suppliers.

Engaging Stakeholders

To proceed with your strategy, Wilson (2020) says you need to develop a plan to engage the stakeholders, ensuring you get the support you need for success.

Identify Stakeholders

It would be a worthwhile exercise to sit down and write out all your stakeholders. There are more than you might think, so this will be a bit of a brainstorming activity. According to Wilson (2020), there are three main types of stakeholders to consider:

  1. Those with authority
    These are the people who sign off on the plan and approve the budget.
  2. Those Impacted
    Your marketing efforts will directly impact these people. Think of the sales team, the HR team, or even the receptionist. When you kick butt with content marketing, you will likely get an influx of business. So it’s a good idea to prepare everyone.
  3. Those who contribute
    Now that you’ve come up with a superb strategy, someone needs to put it into action, which would be this group of people.

Define Content Marketing Goals

Collaborating with stakeholders can often be challenging, says Wilson (2020), which makes sense. When multiples of people care about a project, there will likely be many ideas regarding achieving its success. So while you may believe you’ve got the plan fully figured out and are eager to get started, it’s worth your while to spend the time having a meeting of the minds with your stakeholder team. They might even have ideas you haven’t considered.

Wilson (2020) outlines some questions to consider:

  1. What are the goals the company hopes to achieve? For example, brand awareness.
  2. What are the gaps? For example, lack of web traffic.
  3. What are the opportunities? For example, an increase in sales.
  4. How can content marketing solve these issues?

Evaluate Ideal Content Marketing Goals

Wilson (2020) describes multiple goals that you may consider when devising a content marketing strategy.

Wilson (2020) emphasizes this question when considering which goal to pursue:

  1. Brand awareness: Recognition of your brand and company
  2. Engagement: An interactive relationship with the content and clicks or shares.
  3. Lead generation: Genuine customer interest and inquiries
  4. Sales
  5. Retention and loyalty of customer base
  6. Upselling/Cross-Selling

Which goal(s) will offer the most significant impact on your business?

After the groundwork of identifying goals and evaluating which ones will impact the success of your business, Wilson proposes that coming into agreement with your stakeholders will be a natural outcome.

Measuring Success Using Metrics

Metrics are measurements used for tracking performance; each goal will have specific metrics with which to align. Unfortunately, aside from sales, which have a defined numerical measurement, many content marketing goals are challenging to gauge…unless you understand how. Wilson (2020) suggests that the secret to measuring success is in understanding which metrics to use and aligning them to your organizational goals. 

For example, with brand awareness as a focus, you might use website traffic metrics or the number of views on your video. If you decide to focus on engagement, you might observe the number of Likes or Comments on your posts.  With regards to Lead Generation, you may track the number of email subscriptions.

Each goal has metrics that indicate how well your content marketing is doing.

Benchmarking

It’s not enough to look at the metrics; we need to analyze them. Part of that analysis includes benchmarking or, in other words, comparing our results against our past efforts and the efforts of other companies (Wilson, 2020). Observing our past campaigns, our competitors’ content and successes, and marketing strategy reports are three methods we can use to perform benchmarking, according to Wilson.

Timeframes

Like any goal or strategy, defining time frames for action steps and performance reviews is an essential step (Wilson, 2020). Time frames help keep stakeholders in the loop, reinforcing the alignment of the goals with metrics.

We’ve learned that creating a content calendar is essential for consistent posting and scheduling campaigns through Facebook Business Manager to direct our advertising efforts efficiently. In addition, measuring performance within a constrained timeframe that matches our content marketing efforts and schedule helps you determine what isn’t working.

How to Calculate Content Marketing ROI

The ultimate goal is to generate sales for our organization or project. It’s exciting to see click-throughs and money coming into our bank accounts, but how do we know we’re earning revenue? We do this by measuring the ROI (Return on Investment). How much money do we have after we’ve considered any funds invested (Wilson, 2020)? Stakeholders will be very interested in ROI so that they can decide whether to continue to authorize the strategy and sponsor our efforts or fund future promotions. It also helps them determine what financial contribution our content marketing plan is making to the company (Wilson, 2020).

Calculating ROI

  1. How much money did you spend?
  2. What is your net profit? (Sales-Cost)

ROI Calculation

Estimate ROI Using a Business Example

If we are going to sell our stakeholders on our plan, we need to show them that we can achieve our goals, and they will want to see some numbers as proof (Wilson, 2020). Using data from a past campaign, you can estimate:

  1. Cost
  2. Conversion Rate
  3. Revenue

Estimate Cost

We need to list out all the costs involved with our marketing strategy. For example, how much will our paid ads cost? Are we hiring a copywriter or web designer?  Record and total all costs involved; if you don’t know them, you can contact companies for quotes.

Estimate Conversion Rates

Remember that conversion is when people who interacted with your social media marketing become paying customers. Leads generated are when a potential customer responds by, for example, entering their contact information, filling in a request for more information, or signing up for a newsletter.

When you use the number of leads you generated from a previous campaign along with how many sales you generated, you can calculate your estimated conversation rates.

Estimate Revenue

Once you have the estimated cost and conversion rate, you can calculate revenue.

Creating Content to Drive Results

Wilson (2020) asserts that content must apply directly to the customers you’re trying to reach, which makes good sense, but how do you do it? You must develop content with your target customer in mind. Your customer guides every decision! While many say that content is king, I would posit that the customer is king.

Developing Content

Developing content which will get you the results you’re looking for involves a few factors:

  1. Target Customer
  2. Content types
  3. Resources
  4. Content that will support organizational objectives

1.     Target Customer

As always, you need to start with considering your target customer.

  • Who is the target customer?
  • What kind of content and media would most resonate with them?

2.     Content types

Focusing on the customer, perhaps even picturing a target customer persona, will help direct your content strategy. Imagine your ideal customer: would they respond to video or white papers filled with data and evidence (Wilson, 2020)? Teenagers, for example, are more likely to respond to videos. In contrast, lawyers may be interested in white papers. Wilson explains that you’ll know what content to create once you know WHO you’re trying to reach.

1.     What resources do you have available?

Once you’ve decided what to create, you must identify the resources you have available. For example:

  • What is your budget?
  • How much time do you have at your disposal?
  • Who is willing or qualified to do it?
  • Content that will support organizational objectives

According to Wilson (2020), content should also support your goals, reiterating how important it is to set them.

Wilson reminds us that while “content is king,” it is not one size fits all. Instead, we must first consider our target customer, our available resources, and our business goals. Then we can determine the content we want to create.

Buyers Journey

Wilson (2020) explains that it’s the job of the content creator to move their customers through the buyer’s journey, which has four stages as depicted here:

Following is a detailed description of each stage, as explained by Wilson.

Awareness

Buyer: It occurs to them that they have a problem and have begun seeking a solution.

Content creator: Helps the buyer further understand their problem and offers possible solutions using light content that is easy to consume.
Examples include short videos and posts, which have memes.

Consideration

Buyer: They begin to deepen their research into possible solutions. They’ve become aware of your brand as well as your competition’s brand. They’re at a crossroads, deciding which path to take, and they must consider all their options first.

Content Creator: Educate buyers using more detailed information and content, helping them see that you should choose to solve their problem.
Examples include webinars and white papers.

Decision

Buyer: They are about to take the path towards your product and check into some final decision determiners, such as reading reviews or returning to your Website a few times.

Content Creator: Provide details on your product/service.
Examples include demos, free trials, and product description pages.

Purchase

Buyer: Completes the acquisition.
Content Creator: Celebrates and evaluates success for future reference.

Modern Online Buyers Journey

I found a post by Blue Corona that takes the traditional buyer’s journey and literally twists into a circle (The Modern Digital Marketing Funnel, 2019).

According to the post, the buyer’s journey is more like a cycle of twists and turns than a funnel (The Modern Digital Marketing Funnel, 2019, para. 8). In the examples they include, buyers cycle around and around in the consideration, research, and discovery loop many times before landing on the purchase phase. In the online world, this makes sense. There is simply more information available at our fingertips. When I think of my own buyers’ cycle, I may stay in the loop for a long time and even appreciate, at times, those ads that follow me around offering me more information to help me decide.

Distribution Channels

Of course, the first thing we must consider is our target customer. We need to think about where they hang out online, making data an essential aspect of this step (Wilson, 2020). Google Analytics will help determine the online habits of your customer.

  1. Which online platforms does your customer visit?
  2. What content has the best results on those platforms?
  3. How will the content reach them?
    Paid distribution such as Facebook ads
    Shared distribution when someone shares your posts
    Owned distribution through your newsletters and websites

Attribution Models

According to Wilson (2020), attribution refers to crediting the level of influence or effectiveness of the content that drives a buyer to decide to purchase. The models allow you to understand and give credit to the content that delivered on your goals. Choosing from one of the four models ahead of time will help analyze the results of your campaigns.

Four Models:

  1. First touch: assumes the first content your buyer encountered is the most important
  2. Last touch: assumes the final content your buyer encountered is the most important
  3. Linear: assumes equal value to all content the buyer encounters
  4. Time Delay: assumes the content which is closest to the conversion is the most important

Not Which Model, When

After learning about the attribution models, I wondered how to decide which model to use. I came upon a blog post by Amy Bishop (2017). She says that since one model can’t reveal all the answers you’re looking for, it’s not which model to use. It’s when to use it (Bishop, 2017, paras. 1-3). For example, if you want to know “which channels generated new prospects,” the First Touch model would your best choice (para. 15). Bishop’s method of the “not which, when” deciding process ensures that we’re not missing important information and becoming biased in our assessments.

Overview Case Example

As described in a post by Michael Brenner (2020), this process can become very detailed, who outlines a customer-driven content creation strategy in the image below. First, the customer persona is identified, including needs, personality type, motivators, media preferences (content types), and more. The more you can get into your customers’ heads, the more you can create content appealing to them.

Reporting Campaign Performance

The content distribution methods used by you and your organization will determine the tools you will use to track performance. Just a few examples are:

Useful vs. Relevant Metrics

There are useful metrics, such as page views, which indicate an aspect of your marketing efforts. However, Wilson (2020) posits that relevant metrics take useful metrics a step further because they link the overall effectiveness to your organizational goals. Examples of relevant metrics are conversion rates and leads. The way I think of it is useful metrics show me what’s happened in my campaign, while relevant metrics show what happened NEXT.

Adjusting Campaign Variables

A big takeaway for me during this series is that content marketing requires constant monitoring and adjusting. It’s more than creating an excellent post and sitting back to see what happens.

Once we’ve set up tracking and have insights into our marketing efforts, we will likely need to adjust.

  • First, determine what is and is not working.
  • Second, what could be improved?

Wilson (2020) lays out four variables that we can change if we determine an issue.

Authors Conclusion

The whole point of creating content campaigns is to drive results that meet our organizational goals (Wilson, 2020). We need to observe and evaluate effectiveness over time so that we’re able to adjust for what is not working and how we could make improvements. Equally important is learning what works well to duplicate our efforts, cutting down on time and expense.

Wilson suggests staying up to date in this ever-evolving online landscape by utilizing these resources:

  • Content Marketing Institute (CMI)
  • LinkedIn Learning

My Conclusion: Personal Case Study

Click here to read this content in action.

References

Bishop, A. (2017, January 6). Choosing an attribution model: when, not which. Retrieved from Search Engine Land: https://searchengineland.com/choosing-attribution-model-not-266909

Brenner, M. (2020, February 24). How to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Retrieved from Marketing Insider Group: https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/develop-content-marketing-strategy-not-plan/

Gilday, E. (2018, May 14). 5 rules for marketing addiction treatment to parents of young adults with sud. Retrieved from Little Light Copywriting: https://www.littlelightcopywriting.com/blog/5-rules-for-marketing-addiction-treatment-to-parents-of-young-adults-with-sud

How to pick the right analytics attribution model when there’s no right answer. (2021). Retrieved from Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-analytics-attribution-model/

The modern digital marketing funnel: explained. (2019, July 31). Retrieved from Blue Corona: Measurable marketing solutions: https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/new-digital-marketing-funnel-strategies/

Wilson, V. (2020, November 4). Content marketing: roi. retrieved from linkedin learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/content-marketing-roi/why-calculate-roi-of-content-marketing?u=2109516

SEO Foundations: Part 4 of Social Media Marketing Series

When I think of searching for stuff on the internet, I think of the effort it takes to develop the right word or phrase to get me the results I want to answer my question. The question could be, “Who has the best Indian food in Edmonton?” Or it could be, “Where are the best campgrounds in Alberta?” Or it could even be, “Is Sam Heughan married”? (That’s an Outlander TV series reference for those who might not know.)

If you’re like me, you’ve spent too much time to count going in circles, refining search results, changing the wording, and trying again only to end in frustration.  Searching but not location quite the right website to answer my question is a dismal disappointment. However, I never knew the websites are also trying to find me.

In today’s online marketing and research world, we all must understand and use keywords effectively. It’s as if we all are roaming around a darkened forest, sweeping our flashlights back and forth, calling out “Marco,” and we’re yearning to hear the right “Polo” in response. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is like tailoring our website to call out “Polo” to that lost soul looking for us in the forest. To continue with the metaphor, SEO makes our website shine brightly so that the searcher barely needs any effort to locate us. We want to be the brightest, loudest website in the forest.

The following is a summary of LinkedIn Learning’s SEO Foundations course by David Booth. I recommend LinkedIn Learning’s videos. Super informative and digestible.

Overview of SEO

David Booth (2020) says the point of Search Engine Optimization is to improve search engine results so that your website sees increased traffic.

SEO, done well, actually focuses on “organic results” – meaning people are searching for something and your website shows up as a result, or as an answer to their search.

Even if you’re not trying to sell something directly, you could benefit from learning about search engine optimization. For example, you may be running a non-profit or you simply want to share your thoughts about life. Wouldn’t you want the most amount of people to find you as possible?

Our goal with SEO is to become attractive to Google, according to Booth (2020). We want Google to RANK us higher, thereby making it more likely that we’ll show up in the search results.

Valdo Pavlik (2021) says in his blog post about SEOs that since Google currently dominates the internet world, instead of SEOs we could name them Google Optimization (para. 3).

Relevance and Authority

Relevance

Booth (2020) says search engines want to return the most relevant results. There’s that weird personification. It’s kind of creepy thinking of search engines wanting to show me results on my searches. That said, it’s also handy because when I’m searching ‘Sam Heughan,’ I get websites about Sam Heughan. Alternatively, if I have a fan site about Sam Heughan, my website shows up in someone else’s search results.

How does it work?

The SEO collects all kinds of information on our website. It indexes it and then uses an algorithm (that allusive, mysterious and powerful tool we’re not supposed to look too closely at) to return the most relevant and reliable results to the search word or phrase (Booth, 2020). Cousin Algorithm is sneaky that way.

Another factor to relevance is that while SEOs want to return the most relevant information, they don’t want to leave anyone out who might be even a little bit relevant.  That means when I enter a search for Sam Heughan, I will also get results for Outlander, Scotland, Kilts, and Whisky because they are related to him.

Authority

Authority is about trust.

For example, someone might put in the keywords, Sam Heughan, but end up posting about knitting on their website. They used those keywords to attract visitors to their site, which seems like a clever idea. However, like bees to honey, visitors get drawn in, but when they see knitting instead of sexy Sam, they feel duped. In response, they might leave a nasty review resulting in the website losing trust.

On the other hand, if someone visits a website and finds all the juicy details of Sam Heughan they could ever desire, they declare their trust by linking to that site. Like I’m doing with this one: https://heughligans.com/

(CRESTOSINA, 2021)

The critical thing to understand, aside from my assurance that I’m not as crazy as I sound about Sam Heughan, is that we earn authority and relevance over time. The more a website proves itself to post relevant, reliable, and trustworthy information, the more trust points it deserves, and the higher up in the SE rankings it will climb (Booth, 2020).

Search Engine Result Pages

There are many kinds of search engine results. As the internet and market change in what gets posted, so do the results that might appear. Videos, news stories, images, and social media links are some examples.

Booth (2020) explains that there are two types to be aware of: paid listings and organic listings. Paid listings are what they sound like: paid advertisements. Google, for example, allows advertisers to bid on prime spots. Organic listings are the kind found by searchers naturally. Results will generally show ten organic results, called “blue links.” Within these blue links are specific information such as a headline, description, and visible URL. It’s this information that will be learning to customize (Booth, 2020).

Setting SEO Expectations

As mentioned, earning and gaining valuable ‘trust votes’ from other sources linking to our website takes time and effort. We must curate relevant and exciting content, post useful ‘links,’ and keep on top of managing technical issues. Not only does it take time for us to develop our websites in this manner, but it also takes time for these changes to show up in the search engine results (Booth, 2020).

Moreover, we need to keep humans in mind. After all, it’s not just about appeasing Cousin Algorithm and the internet Gods. Behind all of the techno mumbo jumbo are human beings looking for what we have to offer. Therefore, everything we learned about personas and demographics is still relevant here.

How SEO Affects Your Business

Everyone has heard the term “Google it.” When we say that we will “Google something,” we mean we’re searching something up. According to Booth (2020), searching marks the beginning of pretty much everything we do online. Since we all have Google machines (smartphones) in our pockets, we’re searching in real-time several times a day.

As business owners, we can measure these search results through our analytics and measure the effectiveness of our search engine efforts at any given time and make necessary adjustments (Booth, 2020).

Keywords: The Foundation of SEO

Keywords can be the ice cream to our apple pie or the thorn in our shoe. When you find the right keywords, they’re sweet and go down smoothly with little effort. However, when you can’t find the right ones, you’re lead on a random chase in a prickly desert land of never-ending useless search results. The good news is that all of those random searches aren’t going to waste. They’re providing all kinds of information.  Those search words reveal what our customers are looking for and the words they are using to look. The critical information we need is volume, relevance, and competition. Booth (2020) uses the keyword, car, as an example.

(Booth, 2020)

The word, car, certainly has a high volume of searches, but “blue Toyota” will return more relevant results. Since there is so much to learn from keywords, it makes sense that we would need a strategic plan to develop our goals, know what we’re looking for, and ultimately make sound decisions on the information we collect (Booth, 2020).

Research Keywords

Marketing is really about understanding our potential customers. How do they think? What are they looking for when they Google something? Knowing our customers is the essence of researching and cultivating a list of potent keywords for our websites (Booth, 2020). Booth lays out how to create a “seed list” with a couple of steps:

Step 1: Brainstorming

  • Make a list of the products and services, listing as many specific words as possible
  • Attempt to write the words from the customer’s perspective
  • Use Google Search Console, Google Trends and AnswerThePublic

Step 2: Search Volume

  • Using the list of words we generated, we need to learn the demand for those words.
  • Long-tail keywords have more descriptive words but tend to have higher conversion rates.
  • Have patience and think about this step as exploration and a path to understanding our customers.

Keyword Attributes

Booth (2020) says we need to be concerned with volume, relevancy, and competition when curating our list of keywords. Pavlik (2021) refers to these as the “Keyword Tripod Rule.”

Relevance

Booth (2020) says there is one question to keep in mind regarding relevance: does the keyword reflect the nature of the products and services we’re offering? We want people to find us. Therefore, it makes sense that the keywords we employ should be relevant to our offering.

Volume

We can think of volume as the popularity of our keywords (Pavlik, 2021). While newer websites won’t rank as high in popularity, we can improve this over time. Using keywords that garner a high volume of searches will help with that endeavour.

Competition (Keyword Difficulty)

It’s not enough to use the right keywords. When someone searches for something using one of our chosen words, we want our website to come up first. Coming first in the results means ranking first in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) (Pavlik, 2021). These words, however, have competitors in the form of higher-ranking websites. These websites have earned higher status in the form of relevance and authority.

Knowing the keyword difficulty helps us focus on words within our ranking, especially when we first start.

Keyword Distribution

Booth (2020) explains that it’s essential we assign the right keywords to the correct pages of our website. Planning your website using an Excel sheet to list every single page will help us optimize the keywords to use. It organizes the keywords, but it can also help manage the workflow for our teams.

Keyword Evaluation

Evaluation is often not given the time it needs. Like most projects, we’re most excited about setting it up and reaping the rewards. In contrast, maintenance is that boring part that we would prefer to hand off to someone else. Whether we do it or someone else does, evaluating our results is a crucial step that we shouldn’t ignore.  It will tell us if we’re on the right track and when (not if) things change informing us that it’s time to adjust our strategy. Booth (2020) stresses that SEO is an ongoing project requiring constant learning, researching, and adapting.

Content Optimization: How Search Engines and People View Web Pages

Crafting premium content that includes highly relevant and valuable subject matter will attract SEOs to our websites. While this may sound like a lot of work, I find it encouraging. It means that talent, originality, and hard work are still the way to achieve success. One can be the best at identifying keywords, but what is the point of attracting people to your website if there is nothing of value to keep them there?

Optimizing Site Structure

To return to the metaphor of the dark forest, a website that lacks cohesive structure is like walking through a forest filled with random paths with no signs to guide the way.  Now imagine you’re walking in the woods. You come upon a park ranger, and you ask them for directions to the waterfall. Instead of giving you clear instructions, they stand there scratching their head for a while. Then they proceed to provide you with a dizzying array of directions that you can’t possibly follow. The SEO is like the park ranger. Without any signage, how can the SEO direct people where to go on your website?

Optimizing Textual Page Elements

URL, Meta Title Tag, and Header

The URL (the address of our website) should be short, easy to understand, relevant to our website, and SEO-friendly. Once we’ve established the URL, we want to make it easy for people to find specific content. We can do that by writing concise and relevant tags and headers (Booth, 2020).

Content

While we still need to keep in mind search engines when creating content, we must still keep the humans in mind. Search engines are mimicking and serving people, after all. (Booth, 2020).

Image Metadata

Since SEOs can’t detect images yet, we need to write descriptions that will map keywords to our pictures, which will increase optimization (Booth, 2020).

Optimizing Nontext Components of a Webpage

As mentioned, SEOs do not recognize images, but we can help them by adding keyword text next to and around logos or other images we may use on our websites. The more we can optimize our websites with keywords in strategic elements can help SEOs find us. They light us up brightly in the dark forest.

HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language)

HTML outlines how everything on our website will look which includes the text font and colour, size of content, images, and so on. With HTML, browsers can understand what they’re looking for and translate it to something attractive for us to look at and consume. The code looks like gobbledygook to a lot of us. To others, it makes complete sense because they understand the language (Booth, 2020).

Conicals tags, URLs, redirects, microformats, and Google Search Console include many technical and behind-the-scenes ways of ensuring that you are optimizing your website for search engines. Much of this content swam way above my head; it is a whole new language to me.

One thing it did teach me, however, is it’s not so mysterious why some websites get more traffic than others.

I’ve had a website and blog for many years and have, at times, felt frustrated with how to get more traffic. I thought it just came down to posting consistently and commenting on other people’s blogs. Boy, was I wrong! There is SO much more to it than that. So, while this technical information is above my understanding, for now, I know where to find it when the time is right.

Long-Term Content Planning

Creating a strategy that includes knowing your potential customers well, curating keywords that will attract them to your site, and creating content that will provide value to them are the keys to SEO success (Booth, 2020).

While the amount of content is not the most important part, quality is; therefore, spending time developing the meat of the information is crucial so are things like grammar and punctuation.

Goals and Objectives

We can not escape goals and objectives. It doesn’t seem to matter what subject we study, they mention them somewhere, and SEO is no different. What do we want these keywords to achieve for us? When customers finally come to our website, what do we want them to do once they’re there? Questions like these about our customers need to be addressed and understood by everyone on our team (Booth, 2020).

Online Integrity

Don’t overlook your online reputation. As more of us enter the foray of social media marketing and SEO, we mustn’t sacrifice our integrity to get a few more clicks. As we have witnessed in today’s rampant “cancel culture,” we can lose all of our hard work with a few online missteps. Open and frank discussion around this, along with an online behavior policy, can go a long way to safeguard our reputations (Booth, 2020).

Different Types of Content

At first, we may think of context as the written word, but there are many other examples. One such instance that Booth (2020) describes is sharing presentations. He recommends Slide Share. A website to upload slide decks and share online. This one is exciting to me because I love creating PowerPoint slides.

My Take Away – Conclusion

As I mentioned, I was intrigued by the Slide Share website. So, I decided to upload a lesson I created for a group for which I facilitate. The topic is mini boundaries. Please enjoy this presentation, and if you’re inclined, I would be interested in your feedback.

Presentation link: https://www.slideshare.net/DebbieBridge/mini-boundaries

This version doesn’t have audio, but I will add it to the presentation when I do this again. I will also take the time to research keywords to include in both the description and the tags.

References

Booth, D. (2020, November 16). SEO Foundations. Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/seo-foundations/leveraging-the-power-of-search-to-accomplish-your-business-goals?u=2109516

Crestosina, A. (2021). SEO Basics: A complete guide to the 3 factors in search rankings. Retrieved from Orbit Media Studios: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/dont-forget-the-seo-basics/

Do You Love Sam Heughan? (2021). Retrieved from Heughan’s Heughligans: https://heughligans.com/

Home. (2021). Retrieved from SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/

Pavlik, V. (2021, May 19). The Complete SEO Guide for Beginners. Retrieved from Mangools/Blog: https://mangools.com/blog/learn-seo/#part1

Advertising on Facebook: Part 3 of Social Media Marketing Series

Before There Were Ads on Facebook

I have been on Facebook since August 2007 which seriously dates me, I know.

Facebook-land in 2007 was very different.  It was a simpler world. Posts were limited to the number of characters, and while there was a simple news feed, there was no Like button. Seriously! There was life before the Like button.  We had to rely on ourselves for affirmations.  We could share photos and keep an eye on our friends’ lives. Did you know that there were sane people at the time who had significant concerns about the news feed feature? For some reason, people thought it made stalking easy, but in 2006 Zuckerberg (2018) disputed with, “stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is” (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 8).

Facebook ads, originally called Social Ads, were introduced in November 2007 (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 9). An innovative tool that no one realized would become so instrumental to marketers and users of the platform.

You may think it’s crazy, but I’ve used a sponsored ad on Facebook all of one time in the 14 years I’ve been on the platform. I just haven’t experienced the pay-off. Perhaps the learning series on LinkedIn Learning called “Advertising on Facebook: Advanced” will help.

Business Manager

Megan Adams from “Advertising on Facebook…” describes Business Manager as a one-stop shop for business advertising needs across several platforms (2020). It collects all your online marketing efforts for your business in one place. This sounds like an ideal solution to the challenging world of online advertising. It’s suitable if you use more than one platform (i.e., Instagram and Twitter).

Getting started with Business Manager

To get started, you must first have a Facebook account and a Facebook page.

What’s the difference between an account and a page, you may be wondering? A simple way to think of your account (or profile) is for your personal use, while your ‘page’ is for your business use (Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page…, 2020). There are also Groups, but we won’t get into that here.

Figure 1 Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page: 10 Things You Need to Know

I won’t take up space here explaining all the ins and outs of Facebook Business Pages, but know that you need to have one for Business Manager. To get a Page set up for yourself, follow the guide below from Facebook (Create a Free Business Page in Minutes, 2021).  Also, keep in mind that whatever account you use to sign into Business Manager will be your primary account (Adams, 2020).

A quirk with Facebook is that you can’t have a business page unattached to a personal profile, which has always annoyed me. It seems Business Manager is their way to get around that issue because it allows you to share content with customers without revealing personal information.

Figure 2 Create a Free business Page in Minutes

Setting up your Business Manager Account

After you’ve logged into your Business Manager account, you will see an overview of your account.

Step 1: Create Account

You need to enter your business name, name, and email address, to set up your account. There is a potential hiccup at this step. Unbeknownst to me, my payment account had been disabled through my business page on Facebook. After spending some time investigating the likely culprits, I still can’t figure out what caused this to happen. I haven’t used an ad for at least two years. At any rate, I will have to wait until regular business hours to talk to someone and, in the meantime, won’t be able to practice using Business Manager at this time. Frustrating!

Step 2: Managing Assets

Assets refer to ad accounts and the money spent along with the pages connected to your account.  It’s in the user’s section where you will page(s), request access to someone else’s page (i.e., a client), and check in on how they’re performing. You can also set permissions for the pages as well as add other people. This allows people on your business team to help manage your account. You can also set up groups for larger companies (Adams, 2020).

Set 3: Notifications

With multiple pages, platforms, and people associated with a business account, managing your notifications is necessary. Handling a variety of notifications can be a stressful part of social media marketing. It may even cause many to give up. However, it appears that Business Manager has you covered. You can tailor when and how you will receive notifications on the various workings of your business social media marketing. Adams stresses the importance of spending time customizing this section (Adams, 2020).

Step 4: Ad Accounts

Adams says that using Business Manager to set up your advertising efforts will be highly beneficial (2020). While she mentions that it’s a time-consuming process, she stresses that it’s worth the effort.

Step 5: Roles & Permissions

Business Manager benefits a business with several people on the account managing pages and ads (Adams, 2020). In the users’ section, click the blue ‘Add’ button to add people to your account. This is the same place where you can assign specific roles and grant permissions. For security, it’s essential to stay on top of managing the roles and permissions of your account (Adams, 2020). It’s easy to lose track of this when people join or leave your organization. Still, with the public aspect of social media, management of this area must become a priority.

Roles

Employee Access: for employees who only want to have permission to work on specific projects.

Admin Access: for trusted team members, you allow complete control and access to your business.

Finance Analyst: for the person who will be viewing financial details

Finance Editor: for the person who has permission to edit financial details

Permissions
To give people permission to work on projects, click on their name, and the settings window appears. In this window, you can see which assets the person has access. You can add more here or customize what they can for each asset/project (Adams, 2020).

Manage Ads and Campaigns

Ads Manager

Ads Manager is the dashboard where you will be accessing the ad campaigns you create. To start a new campaign, select the Create tool (Adams, 2020).

Adams shows the intuitive nature of creating a campaign beginning with choosing a marketing objective (2020). With each selection you make, Business Manager asks additional questions to drill down the specifics you need to create a successful ad campaign. After you’ve selected things like the type of ad you want, your budget, and who your audience is, you can move on to the section where creativity can flow.

When creating the ad, there all kinds of sections with which you get to play. Of course, you begin by identifying the business page, but then you select how you want the ad to appear, the images, and the meat of the ad, which is the text. This is where you can let loose those copywriting skills we’ve been learning about in our previous workshop (Adams, 2020).

When you’ve confirmed, the design is complete, and your ad will appear in the dashboard.

Ads Manager Dashboard

The dashboard is the hub of all the ads you’re running. You can view and manage the various metrics of your campaigns (Adams, 2020). If you have several campaigns operating in multiple places, you can see how helpful it is to have one place to go to manage them all. It takes an arduous process, simplifying it and making it manageable. Furthermore, I can see how it would even be fun.

Using Excel

If you’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with using Business Manager to manage ad sets, you can lean on Excel. Adams says you access excel in two ways: copying and pasting or importing (2020). Start the process by selecting the campaign. Once you’ve copied/pasted, or exported into Excel, you’ll be able to view all pertinent data for your campaign.

You can change aspects of the campaign or even duplicate and create new campaigns. However, note that Business Manager needs to create a unique ID for new campaigns, so delete the repeated ID number in Excel.

Once finished working in Excel, export or copy the data back into Ads Manager.

Tags

Tags help you with the vital task of organizing the several ad campaigns you have running (Adams, 2020). After selecting your campaign, you click the three dots at the top, and you’re brought to this edit and create tags pop up.

Creating and managing campaigns will be essential in developing tags to track insights into ads and any traction you may be getting.

Facebook Pixels

A pixel is a small piece of code created by Facebook placed on your website and tracks conversions. It’s a powerful tool for tracking the metrics you need to hone your campaign efforts.

Creating your Pixel

  1. Go to business settings
  2. Click “all data sources”
  3. Click Pixels and then add
  4. Create a name, enter your website, and then click continue

Adding the Pixel Code to your Website

After selecting the setup option, a pop-up window appears, which provides choices for your pixel code.

You can choose from:

  • Add Code using a Partner Integration
  • Manually add the code
  • Email instructions to a developer

Adams says the easiest method is to choose “email” (2020). This will generate an email with all the pertinent information needed so that you can either send it to the developer or even a tech-savvy friend.

Conversions

Return to the pixels manager page, and you can see everything about your pixel (Adams, 2020).  When you click Custom Conversions, you can tell the pixel what you want to track in the conversions section. This makes it possible for you to see how people respond to your ads and convert your views into buyers.

Creating a Conversion Ad

From the ad manager dashboard, you create a marketing objective and then select conversion. After you have it set up, head over to the budget section. You can customize cost control, daily budget, and schedule.

You can learn when and for how long a customer clicks and then delays the time to purchase in the conversion window. It’s easy to see how valuable data is needed to assist in performance in this or future campaigns (Adams, 2020).

Analytics

As we know, analyzing the data from our marketing efforts is an essential aspect of managing strategic performance in advertising. Data is how we can create, direct, curate, and pinpoint what is needed to make more conversions with marketing campaigns (Adams, 2020).

In the analytics dashboard, you’re able to view and track several metrics:

  • Number of users and whether they are unique or repeat
  • Retention
  • Session length (duration of interaction on the website)
  • Growth metrics

However, the dashboard is a simple overview; to see deeper analytics, you can click on the full report (Adams, 2020).

As you keep scrolling down, more metrics appear, such as engagement and demographic information.

Custom Audiences

Adams says that it’s through customer audiences that you can specifically target your customers. This is where we can put into action the research we’ve done on our customers and personas we’ve developed during that research.

Create your Audience

There are several options when creating an audience in the dashboard. Sources can be personally owned, including a website, customer list, app activity, or even offline activity. I’m thinking of when I used to teach workshops. They would’ve been an ideal activity to track audiences.

Other than personal customer sources, Facebook sources are available for use.

This is an amazingly comprehensive tool that can develop our customer profiles and build targeted campaigns from the information we gather (Adams, 2020).

Create the Website Audience

The example Adams uses in the video is a “Cart Abandonment” strategy (2020). You choose your audience by selecting that anyone who already visits our website. We use the pixel to capture these specific customers. You can tailor your choices by selecting the various options, such as the time spend on our website (Adams, 2020).

Once you successfully create the audience, you can choose to make a lookalike audience or start an ad targeting them (Adams, 2020).

What are Lookalike Audiences?

According to Adams, Facebook uses the data collected from our audiences and campaigns to help us create a lookalike audience (2020). These audiences have similar demographics or “look like” other people who are already visiting and using our website.

You can begin by uploading a customer list that has already been successfully converted. You can then instruct Facebook to identify other Facebook users who match the demographics of your customer list. Adams says you know this lookalike audience will likely be responsive since they match many of your current converted audience (Adams, 2020).

Advanced Advertising Techniques

Split Testing

As Adams explains, Split Testing is when you compare two of your ads against each other. To create an effective test, she recommends changing only one of the variables (2020). She goes on to say that the point is to create two different ads but achieve equivalency in impressions and audience. However, you wan to ensure the audience doesn’t see both ads (2020). This is a test because you want to determine if there is any statistical difference in the responses of the two ads. You can determine which ad is more effective.

The ad creation menu looks like the other ad creation menus we’ve learned about so far. The difference is there is an option in the left sidebar to create two ads: Ad A and Ad B. You will duplicate the ads identically, but you will change one variable in each ad, thereby testing which options to use.

Testing ads are a necessary step to do continually. It allows you to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Retargeting

Using the data from the pixel code to point ads at people who have been to your website previously but didn’t complete a purchase is called retargeting (Adams, 2020).  They have spent time on your website and have put something in their cart but abandoned it before completing the purchase. You can use the pixel to find these customers and retarget an ad to them.

Dynamic Ads

By targeting customers who’ve made specific actions on your website, you can create a dynamic ad (Adams, 2020). Adams says if you have ten products or services on your website, you should start implementing dynamic ads (2020).

The first step is to set up your catalogue of products or services through the assets column. In this step, it’s vital to ensure that the product photos are clear and of high quality. You can also segment the products into categories (Adams, 2020).

Once the catalogue is populated, the next step is to create an ads catalogue campaign. It’s here you choose the catalogue of products for which you want to create an ad. Note: the only way this will work is by using a pixel (Adams, 2020).

Adams says dynamic ads are a great way to market several products at once (2020). It also helps you retarget customers who haven’t completed purchases in which they’ve shown interest. In a sense, you can create an ad that follows people around, giving them opportunities to complete the purchase. The key is to do it in a helpful manner, rather than a harassing one (Adams, 2020).

Conclusion

Adams reveals her enthusiasm for social media marketing through Facebook (2020). She points out that it’s true; the playing field is frequently changing. Instead of being discouraged from participating, she says to consider it an opportunity to learn. With rapidly evolving technologies and regulations, a social media marketer can have an exciting and growing career (Adams, 2020). Adams shared with us some helpful resources to assist in keeping us up to date on the changing trends:

My Take-Away (Conclusion)

iOS 14 Update Impact

During my additional research, while writing this blog, I came across a post from Facebook warning us about the new Apple iOS 14 update. The post explains the effect of social media marketing. According to the post (2021), Apple has designed an App Tracking Transparency framework whereby people can opt-out of tracking (How the Apple iOS 14…). New limitations will be introduced, such as ad creation limits and delivery status changes. There will also be reporting restrictions, making many of the conversion ads created by pixels a little more challenging to design. Retargeting will be impacted explicitly due to the newly imposed targeting and dynamic ad limitations (How the Apple iOS 14…, 2021). The post provides some tips to mitigate the impact: How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting.

References

Adams, M. (2020, January 14). Advertising on Facebook: Advanced. Retrieved from Linkedin Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/advertising-on-facebook-advanced-3/increase-sales-with-facebook?u=2109516

Facebook Profile vs Facebook Page: 10 Things You Need to Know. (2020, 12 16). Retrieved from WebSolutions: https://www.websolutions.com/blog/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-managing-personal-and-business-on-facebook/

How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting. (2021). Retrieved from Facebook for Business: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202