Top 15 Growth Marketing Tools for Startups

It’s hard being a start-up. At the dawn of their lifecycle, startups have to keep up a steady growth of 30% every year or suffer a painful death.

Up until a while ago, “growth hacking” was an odd buzzword on the lips of SEOs and marketing professionals alike. Today, it has become a synonym for most of the marketing tactics used by startups; a process of experimenting across marketing channels in order to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow your business. It is a mindset; a fast-paced, data-driven and actionable approach to help you capitalize on the opportunities and ideas that drive business growth.

The man who coined the term, Sean Ellis, defines it by stating that start-up companies need to change the rules of conventional channels, or better yet, innovate outside of them since they are beyond the advantage of adapting to the old rules of marketing. Young startups need to be creative and test new ideas relentlessly because, if they don’t, they will be soon out of business.

If this is all so overwhelming for you, fear not – we have compiled a list of the 15 top growth-hacking tools that will help you get the job done, most of which are free to use! Check them out below:

 

1. Buff up your marketing efforts on Twitter with Click to Tweet

This one is the simplest – Click to Tweet helps you promote your products on Twitter. Engage your Twitter followers in sharing your product and you can offer them reward like coupons. The built-in analytics will tell you how many times your link has been clicked, which is as useful as ever. Just sign in with Twitter!

 

2. Automate your marketing strategy on Twitter with Jooicer

The automation on Jooicer makes life on Twitter for the baby start-up a charm: you can select the actions you want to be automated by creating “recipes”: say, “follow all users with a certain hashtag in their bio”. You can create your own custom recipes or share with others.

 

3. Create email collect forms with SumoMe ListBuilder

Out of the nifty little bundle of tools called SumoMe, the ListBuilder lets you convert one-time visitors into subscribers. You can either use the completely customizable popover after visitors spend a certain amount of time on your site or turn on smart mode so that the tool can ask them to subscribe when they’re ready to leave the site.

4. Add an email collect pop-up with SumoMe ScrollBox

Similar to the ListBuilder, you can customize a pop-up to appear after the visitor has scrolled down a specific percentage of your site. That way you can be sure that they have had the time to enjoy some of your content before committing.

 

5. Create giveaways with SumoMe Leads

This is the hottest way to turn visitors into leads –  by rewarding them with downloadable content like brochures or PDF documents. The button is free for you to place anywhere on the page; all you have to do is create the bonuses to lure those leads!

 

6. Make any selection of text tweetable with SumoMe Twilighter

Sharing made easy! All your visitors have to do is highlight any piece of content they wish to share and they can send it to their Twitter feed with the click of the mouse.

 

7. Ease the sharing of image with SumoMe Image Sharer

A must-have plug-in that makes it easy for your readers to share an image from your blog posts. This comes supported with the fact that shares on Facebook get over 39% more engagement if they include an image. It’s very user-friendly:  all the photos in your posts will be overlaid with sharing icons for the social platforms and each share includes a link as well.

8. Add conversion pop-ups with Optimonk

Much like the ListBuilder and the ScrollBox, Optimonk allows you to detect “exit intent” and add a pop-up message asking your visitor to extend their stay or sign up for more. They offer a free 14-day trial, after which you will have to inquire for the rates.

 

9. Discover the most popular articles with BuzzSumo

With this free little tool, you just type any term in its search bar and it lists you all the popular articles on that particular topic. Work wonders for writers who want to be at the top of their writing game by staying relevant!

 

10. Add call-to-action with HelloBar 

HelloBar is not new, but it’s still not very well known. It adds a notification bar on the top of your site that doesn’t move and you can stick any kind of action you want on it, from email collection to a simple message! The basic plan is free, but with the PRO you can do some cool things like A/B testing.

 

11. Help resolve problems with SessionCam

With SessionCam, you can watch a recording of your web and mobile visitors in order to identify potential problems or simply increase conversion. It also shows you heat maps and helps you build conversion funnels between the pages on your site. It’s free for the Basic Plan.

 

12. Analyze your conversions with ClickTale

Improve your conversions by finding out where your visitors like to click on your site. You can even analyze the performance of the forms you want to be filled in. ClickTale records individual visitor sessions on both desktop and mobile and aggregates it all while allowing you to focus on a particular individual.

 

13. Overlay an ad over the link you share using Snip.ly

This one’s also a no-brainer: If you have an ad that is related to the story you wish to share, use Snip.ly to increase conversions. It’s free up to 100 conversions; if you want to beef it up, plans start at $16 for 500 conversions, up to $85 for 5000 conversions.

 

14. Forget the plain old forms and surveys with Typeform

Make all your lead generating tools interactive and fun with Typeform and watch as the number of leads increases! As many other tools on this list, they offer a basic plan for free to try it out.

 

15. Send user-specific emails with MailGun

The last one on our list makes the coveted email marketing a breeze. No matter if it’s a thank-you email for a visitor signing up or an apology for when their session was rudely interrupted by an error, MailGun is the API for you! And it holds a sweet pricing plan: free up to 10,000 emails/mo, then it’s $0.00050 per email.

 

It may be difficult to grow your business from the ground up, but it’s a fun and exciting challenge. One that can be made a lot easier once you find the right growth marketing tools that will ease many tasks. Try out some of the 15 on this list and let us know how you liked them. And if you need more suggestions, or additional growth marketing help and advice, don’t hesitate to contact Visible Factors. We’ve been where you are.   

 

Can You Use Text on Images in Facebook Boosted Posts?

Facebook ads are a great way to increase your reach and expose your brand or products to new audiences. And creating them right from your Page is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to reach the people who matter the most to your business on Facebook and Instagram.

Depending on the action you want your audience to take, you can choose from the different types of ads Facebook offers – promoting your page, promoting your website or boosting a post.

If your goal is to have people like or react, comment or share on the posts you create on your Page, then the best way to do this is to boost posts. Boosting a post is very easy by locating the blue Boost Post option in the bottom-right corner of your post. Boosted posts are an excellent way of increasing the engagement with your audience, existing and new. When you boost a post, you turn it into an ad, which is then optimized to reach people who are most likely to take action and like or share the post.

An Image is Worth a Thousand Words, Right?

We have all heard the phrase, yet we continue to add text to our images. Sometimes, it’s to enhance the depicted action or describe the objects shown.  Other times to simply share a message or announce a special offer. The use of text on images for advertising purposes is a common practice, but unfortunately frowned upon by Facebook. Up until mid-2016, their advertising policy didn’t allow advertisers to use images, which covered more than 20% with text in ads. Facebook had enforced a rule that limited the amount of text in images, and by using a 5×5 grid, advertisers could see if there’s text in more than five of the squares, which meant the image would be rejected. Of course, there are ways to go around this. For example, you could use the same grid while creating the ad image to simply move the text around or make it smaller so the image would be in compliance with the rule.

This rule was recently changed though. Now, advertisers can use more than 20% text on images for their boosted posts. But, Facebook still prefers images that have less text. And actually, the more text you use in your advertised content, the less exposure Facebook might give to your paid content in the News Feed.

 

Boosted Post Image Categories

Yes, Facebook acknowledges the importance of images in your ads: “Adding a relevant image of your product or service can be one of the most powerful factors in determining the success of your Facebook ads. Yet, there are still some rules and guidelines when it comes to using text on images in your Facebook ads.

Now that more than 20% text in images is allowed, Facebook makes a distinction in the amount of text in images, and categorizes boosted posts and other ads with images in four categories, or as Facebook calls them, ratings:

–  Image text: OK – this is the preferred image style and it means your ad’s image contains little or no text, and your ad will run normally

–  Image text: Low – this means you have a bit more text, and your ad’s reach may be slightly lower

–  Image text: Medium – this means you have a lot of text, and your ad’s reach may be much lower

–  Image text: High – this means your ad’s image has too much text, and your ad may not run

But, as with every rule, there are exceptions, and these image text-categories don’t apply to:

–  movie posters

–  book covers

–  album covers

–  product images: when the entire product is visible, and just a zoomed in part of it

–  posters for concerts, music festivals, comedy shows or sporting events

–  text-based businesses: calligraphy, cartoons and comics, etc.

–  app and game screenshots

–  legal text

–  infographics

In order to help advertisers overcome the problem of determining whether the image would be categorized as “OK” or “Medium”, Facebook has created the “Image Test Check” tool (“Text Overlay Tool”) to help find out in which category your image belongs. Also, whenever you create an ad in the Create an Ad tool or in Power Editor, you will get a warning if the amount of text you intend to use may limit your ad’s distribution.

 

Make Sure Your Content Appears in the News Feed

For several years now, Facebook has been decreasing the free reach of Pages. Starting as early as 2012, they’ve been limiting the amount of Page content that appears in the fans’ News Feeds. And at the end of June 2016, Facebook announced they will make more changes to the News Feed, making it even more difficult for Pages to have their content seen by those who liked the Page. And in spite of the decrease in organic reach, out of 60 million active Facebook Pages, only around 10% of Pages choose to pay and boost content and advertise on Facebook.

Very few pages do well on Facebook without paying, and this is because they have built a very engaged audience that visits their Facebook Page frequently. But for the majority of Pages it’s hard to get their content in their fans’ News Feed.  And if your fans don’t see you on Facebook, they may not remember to come to you when they need what you offer. That is why boosting your posts is an excellent way to get in front of your audience and ahead of the competition.

But keep in mind that in order to ensure that your current and potential fans see your content in their Facebook News Feed, you need to pay, at least for boosted posts. If you don’t, a tiny portion of your fan-base will get to see what you’re posting. Whether you’re maintaining less than 20% text and spend as little as possible, or decide to test the limits and add more text to images and pay more for distribution, it’s up to you. But don’t underestimate the power of boosted posts.

Recently, the internationally recognized Facebook expert, Mari Smith stated that: “Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans. That is, for every 100 people on Facebook who liked your business page, only 1-6 of them actually see your posts in their News Feed.”

 

We are pretty convinced that businesses paying for Facebook ads and boosting posts enjoy greater success on Facebook. And with the latest organic reach decreases, as well as the new image text rules in mind, we are ready to help you advance in your Facebook posting and advertising strategies.

Boost Local SEO Efforts to Improve Reputation, Rankings and Revenue

If you want to market a local business online, begin with search. Investing in, and optimizing for local SEO is a great way to place your business in front of a local target audience, while selling your product to people who will provide the most growth for your company.  But, unlike optimizing for organic search, SEO optimization for local business includes a slightly different set of components. 

So let’s take a look at the main components of local SEO that influence your 3 Rs – reputation, rankings and revenue.

1. Set up a Google Place and Google+ Local Page

Begin your local SEO optimization with opening a Google Business account. This will allow you to set up a free listing on Google Places, appearing on the right hand side of the SERPs anytime someone does a relevant search. By listing on Google Places, you are giving your website the most important backlink you can get – from Google. You can emphasize the impact by creating a Google+ business page and entering your business details there too.

Make sure your business qualifies as local by checking the Google Compliance Guidelines and stick to them to ensure you are not spamming Google.

2. Optimize your Website for Local Rankings

First, have a technically clean website that offers great user experience and regularly audit your site to resolve problems and avoid penalties.

Next, include your location info, along with your brand’s name and keywords in the pages’ title, tags and meta descriptions. Also try to insert your location as a keyword, or a long-tail key phrase in your content. But make these location-insertions sound as natural as possible, especially in places read by people. Avoid keyword stuffing and include your business address and contact phone number in the footer of the site.

Optimize your website in such a way that you are the best in the business’ geo-industry, but don’t forget that you need to optimize for organic search, local search, and conversions. 

3. Make use of Citations Identical with NAP listings

Your presence on other high-quality listing sites such as Yell and Trip Advisor is very important. They provide authority links to your site, encouraging users to visit your site and trust your business.

Next, make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) listing are correct and identical with your citations since they are a key ranking factor, and can improve your ranking especially if they present quality and relevant listing sites. Decide which location information you want included, and use that address on yours, and when you list on third-party sites.

So make sure your citations are correct and up-to-date. Monitor and audit them regularly, fix any inconsistencies, remove duplicates, and don’t forget to look for new geo- and industry-specific citation opportunities.

4. Use the Power of Positive Customer Reviews

We all know the power of reviews, and how strongly they can influence our decisions. Google and other search engines are no different. If your business has numerous five-star reviews, you will have a higher rank with proof of excellent service.

In order to get positive reviews from customers more frequently, start by providing better in-store service and encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and other relevant sites. Monitor your reviews, good and bad ones alike, and respond to them – thank them for their honest comments. Take people’s remarks seriously and try to improve your service. Customers always appreciate the extra effort you are willing to put in for them. Use this to your advantage and earn your positive reviews.

5. Get Valuable Local Links

Just like optimizing for organic search, optimizing for local SEO also requires relevant links, especially from other relevant and authoritative local business websites.  To optimize your links, find broken links and resolve them or disavow them.

Make sure to create new linking opportunities by providing great content, and always be on the lookout for new linking opportunities in editorial contributions, local sponsorships, relevant blogs and online local magazines, etc.

6. Create a Strong Social Presence

Being present on social media is a must nowadays. It’s not up for discussion anymore whether you should create social media presence, but where to create it. Start by identifying which social networks are most relevant to your geo-location and industry. Based on each platform, and your goals, come up with a participation strategy, and try to engage your audience. Talk to your audience, share information and experiences with them, and don’t sell your products and/or services aggressively.

Also, remember to use social media to monitor the social conversations about your brand, and to listen to your customers. Try to be fast in answering customers’ questions, and resolving any problems of conflicts. Social signals do matter!     

7. Watch Your Offline Behavior

As a local business, you must beware of your offline behavior too. Anything that happens offline, can be published online, whether it’s a company activity or in-store experience. Your offline and online experience should be consistent because the consumers that found you online and visited your store expect to see the same branding, messaging, signage, promotional materials, in-store experience, apps, etc. Be consistent in your efforts.

Also, use the power of real-world opportunities for establishing a strong brand presence in the community using traditional marketing methods such as TV, radio, print media, and organization, participation and/or sponsorship of local events and happenings.


Now that we explained how to optimize each part of local SEO, let’s look at how these factors influence your 3 Rs.

Reputation: When you are present on Google Places as a local business, your NAP listings and citations are identical, and you have numerous positive reviews, you prove not to be spammy to search engines and you are relevant to customers. Additionally, when you have a great website that is supported with high-quality links, excellent user experience, and positive social signals, your reputation in the search results is greatly protected.

Rankings: All of the above mentioned factors influence how Google perceives your website. Google evaluates and trusts the validity of your business based on your reputation, your website’s performance, content quality, penalties, and more. And when your on-page efforts are supported with good reviews, listings, citations, and strong social media presence, Google will rank your site higher in the SERPs.

Revenue: By optimizing all these areas, you save yourself from losing customers due to lack of or incorrect information, lack of customer support, bad comments, or plunges in visibility. If you prove to be a highly reputable site that ranks high in the local searches, you will get more online traffic, more store visits, and ultimately, and will enjoy increased profits.

By providing good customer experience, online and offline, instigating positive reviews, getting quality listings and citations, generating great and relevant content, being present on social media, and getting recognized as a high-quality brand, you set yourself for success in the online and offline world.

Never underestimate the power of any component of local SEO, and optimize each and every one of them at the same time, and be consistent in your work. Keep monitoring, tracking and improving your actions and adjusting your strategy. And if you can’t do it alone, we can assist your local business and help you grow and become the best in your area. Give us a call!  

 

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Get in touch and find out how our team can help you drive results!

Contact us today

Facebook Ads: Advanced Targeting

Facebook Ads have elevated social media marketing to a new level, integrating advertisements into our Facebook feeds. For regular users, ads may be just another set of boxes appearing on the right side of the News Feed, but for marketers, they are an opportunity to promote their product or service to the desired audience.  Luckily, cool targeting options like location, demographics, interest and behavior let you specify and choose who should see your ads.

Beside the generic options, Facebook lets you dig a bit deeper and connect with people who have a specific relationship with your brand, or find new potential leads based on their traits and those of your current (or ideal) customers. With most of the world on Facebook, you can now reach customers significantly more efficiently.

The hidden Facebook Ads gem you are looking for lives under the “Audience” tab in Ads Manager. We highly recommend you open it. There, you will find the Advanced Facebook Ad targeting which encompasses three possibilities:

Facebook Ad Custom Audience Customer File

 

The Custom Audience – Customer File option reaches your existing customers on Facebook.

  1. Email: To use this option, you need a list of your customers’ email addresses. You can upload a CSV or TXT file, copy-paste the data, or import email addresses directly from MailChimp. Facebook will then cross check those email addresses with that of its users and create a highly specific ad audience.
  2. App activity: To reach people who use your app and who take specific in-app actions, you need to integrate Facebook’s SDK for iOS, Android or Canvas. That way, every time somebody takes a specified action in your app, they will be added to the Custom Audience list. 
  3. Engagement on Facebook: This is the newest Custom Audience option, allowing you to target people who are already engaged with you on Facebook. You can segment people who viewed your Video, opened or completed a form in your previous or existing ads on Facebook, opened your Canvas on Facebook, or interacted with your page.

Custom audience targeting is a great way to strengthen the connection with existing customers. You can use it to send special offers to users who are deeper into the buying cycle, or those who already made a purchase, and now you want to turn them into returning or loyal customers.  

Facebook Ad Lookalike Audience

 

The Lookalike Audience option helps you create a new target audience based on traits and characteristics of your current customers.

To create a lookalike audience, you need to select a source: a custom audience list, Facebook pixel or page fans.

Next, you need to choose the target country and the size of your audience. Note that the size of the audience is based on the total audience in the chosen country. Smaller audience size is more likely to match your source audience, but larger audiences increase the potential reach. Make sure your source list consists of at least 100 people. The more people in your source group, the more accurately Facebook can find people who are similar to them.

There is one more advanced option – creating up to six different lookalike audiences. That way, if you measure conversion value for people in different audiences, you can separate them by different ranges of similarity to the source group, and bid differently for audiences you value differently.  

Lookalike audiences is a great option if you wish to grow the number of new leads, increase brand awareness and exposure, or even tackle new markets.

Facebook Ad Custom Audience From Your Website

 

Creating a custom audience from your website is an excellent way to remarket on Facebook to people who visited your website or linked web pages, who haven’t necessarily completed an action or left their contact information.

To take advantage of this option, you need to create a Facebook pixel to build a custom audience. This way you can focus ad campaigns only on people who are your website visitors.   

 

By creating a custom audience based on website visitors you will be able to:

 

  1. Get people back to your website and complete the purchase
  2. Utilize the custom audience to find new people, similar to your website visitors
  3. Gain additional value from new customer acquisition campaigns by excluding existing customers
  4. Measure and optimize ads for website conversion

 

You will effectively address specific potential customer’s pain points and get them to return to your website again and again, while gaining new customers.

 

Social media marketing is an important part of digital marketing strategy, with 2 million Facebook advertisers as proof that Facebook Ads connect with new and existing customers.  However, it is likely that many are not taking advantage of the advanced targeting options and strategies. Without carefully planning your targeting strategy, you may end up throwing your money away.

Luckily, we are versed in developing and employing a powerful strategy that will grow your business. If you want to grow the number of website visits, raise brand awareness, promote your product or service to new customers and bring the existing ones back to your site to complete a purchase or make a new one, drop us a line and we can help get the most out of Facebook Advertising.

 

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Get in touch and find out how our team can help you drive results!

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Paid Social Media Advertising vs Organic Social Media: Myth Busting

Social media marketing has become a very important part of every brand’s marketing strategy. Existing social networks constantly enhance their platforms while new ones emerge. With new trends, the social media landscape is changing and evolving. That leads to shrinking of organic reach as leading networks increase the use of their paid channels to monetize platform investment.

But let’s take a step back and first clarify what’s organic and what’s paid social media.

Organic social media is the use of social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat – alongside with (free) publishing tools to build a social community, interact with it, share posts and respond to customer comments and messages.

Paid social media is using the paid option these social networks offer to boost the reach of posts, ads and videos, or sponsored messages based on a specific user profile e.g. demographic. These type of social media is charged on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, and also allow for use of measurement that shows the path to conversions, transactions and sales.

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Content Marketing Tactics as an Influence Building Tool

Building influence in your industry can greatly emphasize and amplify your marketing efforts. Becoming a trusted, credible and meaningful source of information and knowledge is crucial for establishing your business influence, impacting the attitude of people about your brand, and has the potential to change people’s minds and their purchasing behavior. One of the most effective ways of building influence and differentiating your brand from the pack is through the use of content marketing. We believe it actually is one of the most powerful tools that every business should include in their marketing arsenal.

Content marketing can be the means for achieving many end. It can help you position your brand as an industry leader and provide sales leads, but it can also build trust and influence among your audience.

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Setting goals and executing with social media marketing

While at SXSW, Chris Winfield and I had our presentation on “Social media marketing for your business.” My biggest focus for the presentation was to help people realize the power of creating a plan, setting goals, and executing them. Overall, creating a marketing plan or strategy should not just involve trying to get some traffic or a few links. There needs to be an end result that helps the business bottom line, like getting new users.

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