The Emerging Atlanta Tech World- Don’t Get Left Behind

Big Change Is Coming to the Atlanta Tech World. Are You Ready

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As a tech company, you couldn’t be in a better place. Silicon Valley’s star is waning, as consumer apps are fewer and farther between and the consumer tech giants are devouring them whenever they appear. Atlanta, on the other hand, is rising like the phoenix. Forbes magazine just named it #3 on its list of “5 U.S. Cities Poised to Become Tomorrow’s Tech Meccas,” the only city on the list east of the Mississippi River.

But in the midst of all the opportunities will also be challenges, as the tech giants move into niches they used to disdain and the lure of profits induces investors to pour previously unthinkable amounts of money into building and promoting potential tech winners. To secure investment in your new or better mouse trap, PE’s and VC’s want to see a well-thought-out brand strategy. In accounting, a brand defined as an intangible asset is often the most valuable asset on a corporation’s balance sheet. Despite this fact, many start-up and tech companies spend copious amounts of money developing the product with little or no thought to the brand and go-to-market strategy.

Learn what you can do to take advantage of the coming opportunities and overcome the challenges of being a tech start-up in a glorious new world the global giants won’t relinquish willingly.

Key takeaway

Be prepared to be hands-on. We’ll help you work through fundamental issues specific to your brand. You’ll leave with actionable insights you can use in your own marketing.

Directions and Parking Information:

Atlanta Tech Village is located in the heart of Buckhead at the corner of Lenox and Piedmont Road.

 

Simple Guidance For You o Make Your Brand An Email Response Rockstar

Are you ready to create emails that get replies? Well, it’s time to step away from the clickbait-y subject lines hawking insincere or insignificant promises, and instead deliver messages worthy of earning a response. Despite rumors to the contrary, asking for a reply or using email templates or sample letters is not the best path to ensuring your emails draw more than a yawn.

If the goal is to deliver emails that consistently get responses, your brand must first focus on being authentic, sincere, and empathetic, putting the needs of the person on the other side of the screen before those of your brand.

By doing so, you not only earn clicks, eyeballs, and responses, you can also increase the number of conversions for your product or services, which likely won’t go unnoticed.

For the skeptical among you, I’ll use a personal example, one that involved me sitting at my desk when my former vice president stormed out of the executive team meeting, yelling my name as he walked down the corridor toward my office.

“Ronell! Where’s Ronell?!” he implored as I stuck my head out my office door to greet him. “I need you to explain these numbers to me.”

I — lump in my throat — looked at a printout with budget numbers for my department.

“I cut your budget 30%, right?” he asked. “But [the revenue for your area] increased 17% over the same period. What did you do?”

Before I could say a word, he ran off to another meeting as I scrambled to respond.

At the time, I didn’t really have a solid answer.

But the more I looked into it myself, the more I realized that I had made a small change that had added up to make a huge difference: I focused intensely on building connections via email with my core clients.

Whereas many of my peers sent ho-hum, “How are you doing? We should talk soon”-type emails that got opened but seemed to never garner responses, I resorted to employing a system that was successful and trackable:

  • Set aside 30 minutes a day for what I called “connectedness emails” — highlighting my knowledge of their new products or services, sharing my thoughts on them, and providing an informed opinion on how successful they were likely to be
  • Sent a minimum of two emails
  • Tied responses to future ad sales

What started out as a fun way to connect with my customers became a process I’ve continued to use for the better part of a decade, during which time I ran a members-only online newsletter that had email open rates averaging 47% (in a vertical where open rates averaged ~5%) and response rates averaging ~35%.

email open rates averaging

I’m sure many of you reading this could beat these numbers in your sleep.

My point is not to show you how lucky I was to have some success at email marketing over a short period of time. My point is that email outreach can be the powerful tool we view it as, if only we’re willing to revise our processes and focus on doing the things that earn meaningful responses, not merely clicks or opens.

Who cares about email, anyway?

Despite all of the attention and dollars thrown at social media, email is one of the most effective tools we have in our arsenal to successfully conduct outreach and build lasting connections.

email is one of the most effective

But I’m sure you don’t need to be convinced, for you’re probably already sending emails more often than you’d care to remember.

What’s more, given the plentiful information on the email outreach, you’re probably wondering why you need to read another such post.

The answer: We can all be more effective at email, whether for marketing or for outreach. I’m of the opinion that the content marketing and SEO industries could be a lot more effective by placing as much emphasis on doing email better and more effectively as we do on social media. (I’m not talking resource allocation, mind you; I’m talking diligence and attentiveness.)

Before I share the simple but effective tactics I’ve used for the last decade, three housekeeping notes are in order:

  1. I’m not now, nor have I ever considered myself, an email expert.
  2. This post won’t cover, in any great detail, subject lines (e.g. length, words, etc.), open rates, optimal times to send emails, etc.
  3. Three things compelled me to write this post: (a) the prevalence of (often ineffective) email outreach; (b) the importance of email to SEOs and marketers in general; (c) and my desire to share a few simple elements I’ve used successfully for years.

How can your brand kick butt by creating emails that garner responses?

#1 -Tell me what’s in it for me

After the opening salutations, get right to the point. Show me you value my time and have used yours to identify my needs and how your brand can help me meet them.

The email below, which I recently received from GetStat, nails it:

  • The subject line not only intrigued me, it made me want to see what they’d collected on my behalf
  • The opening was brief and to the point
  • The information they compiled is in line with why I would likely be reading and subscribing to their blog
  • They were brief
  • (I’ll cover the CTA below)

As you can see, any brand can create a similar email.

It all begins with having empathy for the person on the other end, clear brand goals and a willingness to respect people’s time.

#2 – Grab mobile readers’ attention with the first sentence

I have a confession: I don’t trust your subject line.

We’ve all become masters of the clickbait email subject line. If you’re going to get me to open your email, you’ll need to think different.

Like most of you, I open most emails on a mobile device.

To consistently get my attention on a smaller device, disregard the subject line and use the first sentence of the email, which is often shown via mobile.

Yes, this can mean your emails have my name in the first line. But for brands I recognize, I don’t need to know you realize who I am; I need to know what you’re sharing is of value to me right now.

This should be an easy sell for SEOs who always include keywords in the first few lines and sentences to of a message, be it a blog post or an email.

So, while you’re laboring over that catchy subject line, go ahead and peel off some time — and a few choice words — to include in the first sentence.

#3 – Mind your grammar

One of my first jobs out of college was a business writer for a newspaper.

The metro editor had a standing policy regarding email correspondence that got everyone’s attention:

  • If you spelled his name wrong — no matter how great the pitch — he discarded it
  • If you misspelled a word in the email, it met the same result.

In the years since, I’ve met many people who feel the same way.

Don’t focus on the message at the expense of respecting the person you’re contacting.

Take the time to figure out who you’re writing to. It might be a make or break.

#4 – Create & exhaust tension

If you’re really serious about wanting your email opened, show me that you can help me solve a problem you know I’m facing.

“I know you’re looking to…”

“Brands facing the challenge yours now faces…”

“Your content team is doing an excellent job, but are likely stretched thin…”

That’s when you step in with a worthwhile answer and can likely earn more than my attention.

The key is to show the individual reading your email that you feel her pain, have taken the time to find the solution, and, most important, you are the person to handle the job.

That’s how I got the newspaper gig, despite majoring in biology and having zero experience or training in journalism:

(This is not the actual email I sent, but it is similar.)

  • I’d done my homework to know the issues the paper — and thus the editor — was facing.
  • I knew he’d likely discount a non-journalism major, but I reasoned that he had stories he’d want covered — that is, he’d want to go down swinging.
  • I wanted him to know I respected the business and the journalism, not simply the former.

I later learned that after reading my email, the executive editor said “Where did this guy come from?” He then set up a meeting with me.

I was hired the same day.

“Your email did it,” said my editor, months after I was hired, while admitting he was initially skeptical.

Your brand can achieve similar results. All it takes is a little investigation.

#5 – Have a well-defined call-to-action with clear next steps spelled out

One of my biggest weaknesses when I first started in content marketing was calls to action.

I’d write a blog post that simply ended.

There was no thoughts about intended next steps for the folks I was writing to.

Don’t be me.

At or near the end of every email you send, highlight, share, or link to the intended next step in the journey. (See the GetStat email above.)

#6 – End on a high note

A recent post regarding email outreach I wrote for Moz listed “thank you” as a better alternative to “thanks” as a closing.

Not so fast, says the latest research from Boomerang.

While “thanks” seems gratuitous to me, their research shows it as outperforming every other closing but “Thanks in advance.”

The main point I’m taking from this research is the need to test, test, test.

At the very least, start experimenting with various closings while keeping track of the responses.

Your results will likely vary.

Over to you

As you can see, none of the tips shared above is particle physics. They can be employed by anyone, at any brand and at any time.

I hope you’ll give at least a few of them a shot.

We all spend so much time and energy on email each day, it’s worth taking the time to figure out ways to better engage people through the medium.

 

SOURCE URL: https://moz.com/

10 FAQs About Facebook Advertising

Do you have questions about Facebook Ads? I have answers!

I get a lot of questions about Facebook Advertising and I thought I’d just compile them into one place since you may have the same questions.

#1  Do Facebook Ads work?

Yes they absolutely work.  But you have to make sure you have the right goal for your ads and that you are measuring the right things.

Facebook has some of the most highly targeted, lowest cost per click advertising available on the internet today.

I wrote a post on what to expect with Facebook Ads that not only has some benchmarks of general costs but also tells you how to estimate your results.

Facebook ads do work differently for different industries. Maybe you’ve heard that people get $1/lead or $0.07/click and those results are possible but maybe not in your niche.  It takes testing, patience, and more testing.

It’s also important to note that if you have a low-cost product like an e-book or a $3 product, it’s very hard to have a positive ROI with Facebook ads.  You can use ads to drive traffic and get more brand awareness but you may need to vary your strategy with other methods of organic reach on Facebook.

#2  Are Facebook Ads better than Google Ads?

Facebook Ads and Google Ads are fairly different in the way they target people.

Google targets based on what people are typing in the search right that moment (as well as demographics).

Facebook targets based on interests that people have in their profile (Pages people have liked, Interests they may have added, and demographics targeting based on 3rd party data).

With Google ads you can target more around what people want immediately.  Maybe they are searching for “best prices on tennis rackets” vs. Facebook ads where you are targeting that they are interested in Tennis.

I am not a Google Ads expert but I do find that I can often get cheaper cost per click with Facebook Ads but with Google Ads you may be better able to target someone who is in “buying mode”.

#3  What type of Facebook Ad should I run?

The Facebook Ads Manager can be a little daunting when you get started.  When you choose Create an Ad, you’ll see a number of choices.

Facebook-Ad-Types

Initially I would say focus on Traffic and driving the lowest cost per link click to your website.  Engagement has a few different options under it including Page Likes, Post Engagement and Event Responses.  If you are looking to Boost posts or get more Likes, then this is a good choice.

If you have the Facebook Pixel installed and you are ready to track conversions, then you can choose Conversions.  Make sure you know the difference between running a Conversion ad vs. Traffic.

The Lead Generation ad is not a bad one to test as well but make sure you know how to get to your Leads from your Facebook Page and that you are following up.

Again, you can test your options and see which one gives you the best cost per result.

#4  What should my budget be?

That question is part of a larger one which is what is your marketing budget?  I talk about this a little more in my post about how to set your Facebook Ads budget.

For testing purposes, I suggest using 10-20% of your overall budget for the campaign if possible.  Then testing at least 2-3 different ads and running them for $20-50 for each ad you are testing if possible.

Then here are some other tips:

  • $5-10/day at least to test.  You can have a larger budget if you want to get more traction but be aware of how large your audience is since you won’t be able to have a large budget with a small target.
  • 4 days minimum. Ads often improve their results over a few days and you need to let the ad get some traction.
  • Daily or Lifetime is ok.  Lifetime budget does allow for Facebook to optimize the delivery a little bit.
  • Keep optimizations at default settings. Facebook is doing a good job at optimizing the ad so there is no need to set your bid at a specific amount.

#5  How long should I run my Facebook Ad?

You should run your ad as long as it keeps converting or performing at the rate you want.  I’ve had clients where we are running the same ad for months and it still continues to perform.

If you see the performance start to get worse over a period of days and don’t seem to be bouncing back then you can switch tactics.  Sometimes a new image or running a new test can help.

There often can be some slight dips on weekends, or at other times.

Facebook-Ads-performance

#6  How do I get cheaper clicks with Facebook Ads?

The best way to get cheaper clicks is to test multiple ads and see which one works best for you.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting cheaper clicks.

I typically split test my Facebook ads by testing the demographics first, then moving to testing different images.

Split-test-Facebook-Ads

If you really know your demographics and the best keywords for you, you can move to testing other things like images, text, calls to action, etc.  And for local businesses, you can usually just focus on the local area and test different images or types of ads.

Split-test-Facebook-Ads-local-business

#7  Should I use Power Editor?

At the time of this writing, Power Editor looks and feels almost exactly like Ads Manager.  One of the advantages to Power Editor was that some of the newer features were available there first.

Now I’m seeing more options roll immediately into the Ads Manager.  There are some advantages like bulk uploading and Campaign tagging but other than that, I think it’s more of a personal preference and not necessary to use Power Editor.

When you do create an ad in Power Editor, make sure you edit each level of the ad before Reviewing the Changes so that the ad starts running.

Facebook-Power-Editor-1200x451

#8  What is a good cost per click?

Again there is no one-size-fits-all answer here.  You need to measure what works for you.

In general, I like to see the cost per link click at between $0.50/link click and $1.50/link click.  Of course it can be lower and higher but that depends on the niche and the type of ad you are running.

#9  How do I reach Facebook if I have a problem with my Facebook Ads?

It’s very difficult (and almost impossible) to get Facebook on the phone unless you have an account representative and are spending a higher amount on your ads each month (in the neighborhood of over $10,000/month).

I put together a list of contact forms to reach Facebook with your advertising questions.

#10 How do I learn how to get better results with Facebook Ads?

Test, test, and test.  And shortcut your learning with good information!

Luckily there’s a handy course that I have put together called Facebook Advertising Secrets.  It’s 4 online modules, ebooks, and access to my private Facebook Group where I answer your questions.  We go through troubleshooting, best practices, and I give advice for your specific situation.

 

SOURCE URL: http://www.andreavahl.com

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Small Business Owners Expect Growth in 2013

A new report from Bank of America found that small business owners are optimistic about 2013. “Heading into 2013, small business owners have a high level of confidence in their ability to build and sustain a successful business,” said Dean Anthanasia, Preferred and Small Business executive at Bank of America.
Below are some highlights from the report:

· 54% of small business owners expect to increase revenue
· 31% plan to hire new employees
· 17% say that larger businesses are their only competitors
· 31% say that larger businesses motivate them to become better
· 66% say they have never regretted their decision to go into business

Source: 2012 Small Business Owner Report. Bank of America. November 15, 2012.