A man using social listening tools on his computer.

How To Create Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

A man using social listening tools on his computer.

As marketers, it’s often easy, and comfortable, to remain focused solely on internal data. “Are we increasing conversion rates?” “How long is an average user session?” “Are we acquiring new users from the right channels?”

While internal data is extremely important, we must also utilize outside data to maintain awareness of specific trends in our industry and what we’re marketing. Although we can create or continuously iterate a brand and its products based on our internal data, we can only attempt to shape the public’s perception and opinion, and we may yet be missing unique opportunities. 

This is why it’s imperative to keep your ears open to the public to understand where your industry is headed, and how your product or service is being perceived in this journey.

Jorn Lyseggen, founder and CEO of Meltwater – a SaaS company that develops and markets media monitoring and business intelligence software – recognized this shift earlier than most. Jorn has coined the use of outside data to shape internal decisions as “Outside Insight.”

“Outside Insight shifts the focus from internal data and what you are doing to external data and what your industry is doing, allowing you to benchmark against competition and discover new threats and opportunities in real time.”

In recent years, this surveillance of public opinion, or industry and brand monitoring, has taken on a new life due to the prevalence of social media, carving a niche for what is known as “social listening” – a new breed of industry and brand monitoring that focuses exclusively on what users are saying on social media. 

No longer do companies need to rely on surveys from a select group of people. Today, we can actively monitor what the public is saying about our brand or industry. Even better, we can see what’s really being said about our brand or industry in real-time.

Creating Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

Manually searching for brand mentions on every social media channel is a time-consuming task, especially for a social media manager who has campaigns to launch.

While there already exists a plethora of social listening and brand monitoring tools on the market, there is another simple, cost-effective way to create your very own, automated social listening tool in-house using one of my favorite marketing tools available, Zapier.

Most social listening tools work by scraping social media sites like Twitter and Reddit for mentions of your brand and/or keywords, and then importing these tweets or posts into a dashboard for you with various filtering options at your disposal.

With Zapier as our scraper and Google Sheets as our dashboard, we can do this too! 

Although not as fancy as a full-fledged SaaS, Zapier’s Google Sheets integration gives the average marketer super powers.

If you’re ready to save time on your social listening, follow along to these steps or watch the Loom video below:

https://www.loom.com/share/30aa96908bad4e30af42a676ffcf9581

 

Step 1: The Set Up

Create a free Zapier account if you do not have one. You will also need a Twitter account and a Gmail account to use for Google Sheets.

Set up a new Google Sheet with the following as headers in Row 1:

  • text
  • Screen_name
  • url

Once logged into Zapier, select Make a Zap.

Step 2: Twitter Scrape

Choose Twitter as your app and Search Mention as your event in Step 1 of your Zap. 

Monitoring search terms in Twitter

After selecting to continue, link your Twitter account to Zapier and enter the search term you want to monitor. For example, if you are Manchester United Football Club, you can choose to monitor your branded keyword “manchester united.” 

If tracking keywords with more than one word, be sure to put the keyword in quotation marks.

Test the trigger to confirm the data is being collected and continue. When viewing this data, you will fields for text, screen_name, and url, just like we set up in our new Google Sheet earlier. 

There is also a ton of other data that you can collect. If you are interested in any of the other available data fields, simply add a new column to Row 1 of your Google Sheet with the name of the data field.

Step 3: Google Sheets Input

Choose Google Sheets as your app and Create Spreadsheet Row as your event in Step 2 of your Zap. 

After you continue, you’ll want to link your Google Drive and Google Sheet, and Google Sheet tab that you will be exporting the data to with Zapier. 

Once linked, you will see the fields text, screen_name, and url. Now, you can click within each field and map the Twitter data we collected earlier to the column in Row 1 of your Google Sheet.

Step 4: Finishing Up

That’s it – you’re done. All that’s left to do now is the test the Zap in the final step, check to make sure your Google Sheet was populated correctly, and turn the Zap ‘On.’

You’re now set to collect every tweet that mentions your chosen keyword. 

Repeat these steps with Reddit, and you can collect post text and more information from Reddit whenever a post is made that includes your chosen keyword.

Conclusion

With a tool like Zapier, it’s easier than ever to keep your pulse on what’s being said about your brand and industry in real-time. This basic setup is powerful, yet only scratches the surface on what types of outside data can be collected and how it can be analyzed. Coupled with existing internal data, you can use this information – and the outside insight available from other tools like Google Trends – to understand how the public is engaging with your brand and industry.

Working on a marketing budget for a startup.

How to Set Your Testing Budget For New Channels

Working on a marketing budget for a startup.

One of the biggest growth challenges startups face is finding the most efficient marketing channels for their specific audience. These are common puzzles that plague every early-stage business working to find traction and scale:

    • Which channels should we test?
    • How long should we let them run
    • What should our test budget be?

One size does not fit all

You don’t want to blow your whole budget all on one channel but you also can’t afford to spread it too thin. You have to start somewhere, and you want data that’s statistically significant to your growth. 

So when it comes to creating the right testing budget for your startup, what is the right amount? How much money do you need in the bank to drive actually helpful learnings? 

There’s no one size fits all number for every single company. You have to look at your specific goals and audience and work from there. That’s why we hear this question so often from founders because there isn’t an ‘ultimate guide’ or copy and paste option. You have to do the work.

Here’s how we do it at Tuff: 

How to budget money to test new channels

The challenge for an early-stage team is creating a marketing budget when your company hasn’t tested many channels yet. At this stage, you might think you don’t have enough historical data to inform expectations around conversions and cost per conversions. 

The good news is, with a little digging, you actually do have a lot of data to work with. This is where we uncover how much money you need to spend and what you can expect in return.  

Step 1: Figure out your starting point 

While there is no set rule to establishing your budget, we get a baseline by setting initial budgets at 8 percent of gross or projected revenue

For example, your estimated gross revenue for the year is $1,000,000. We’d take $80,000 and spread it out over 12 months, making adjustments for seasonality. Theoretically, that’s $6,666.66/month, but, you will put more or less into certain months for seasonality. 

This is to set the foundation for your channel experiments, which can then be scaled up or down once you get data and can start to optimize based on your learnings. We like to start lean with lower budgets and then prioritize and scale up based on results.  If, like most startups, you are cash strapped, you can also start with 5% per month and tie that spending to concrete, measurable deliverables. 

Here’s what we’ve seen work the best for finding a test budget: 

  • Ideal: 5-8% of projected revenue for channel optimization
  • Funded: 5-10k for testing 2-3 channels at once
  • Bootstrapped: 2-3k for testing 1 channel at a time 

This structure isn’t perfect but it will help you understand what you need in the bank to prioritize campaigns to quickly drive key learnings and get data that’s statistically significant to your marketing.

Step 2: Customize your budget based on your specific goals 

You probably have an idea of what realistic projections look like for your business: how long it will take to scale, what growth rate is acceptable, and what profit margins are normal within your industry. 

You can use this information to narrow in on your marketing budget, too. 

B2B: Essentially, what is your acceptable CAC and how many customers do you need to show healthy growth? If your CAC is $1,000 and you need 880 clients by the end of the year, you know, at a minimum, you need $88,000 in your marketing budget to start. 

B2C and Ecommerce: Essentially, what is your acceptable CPS and how many sales do you need to show healthy growth? If your CPS is $25 and you need to sell 3,520 products by December, you need to be in the $80k budget range to start.  

Here’s an example for a budget I worked on this week. 

The details: 

  • I got this message on Slack from one of Tuff’s clients: 

What should our test budget be?

  • Instead of starting with a budget and backing into the numbers, we worked with our team to start with a revenue target. We agreed on $105,000 total revenue for a 10-day stretch in May. This would be a 200% increase in revenue from last year. From there, we were able to calculate a plan.  

The budget and plan: 

Since we’ve been working together for 6 months, we have:

  1. Historical conversion rates (17% from install to purchase)
  2. Data by channel for this company

Starting with revenue targets, we plugged this into a plan to see how much we needed to spend to hit our goals. In this scenario, we know that to hit $105,000 at our current conversion rates, we need to spend $35k across a variety of channels. 

This gives us an initial ROAS of 300% with a much higher return when we calculate LTV. 

Example Budget

Step 3: Set benchmarks by channel 

In the above example, we had historical data from the last 6 months which made it easier to allocate spend. You don’t have to have your own data to build marketing projections though. 

Industry experts and blogs can help you compile accurate benchmark data for the channels you want to test. We use this channel benchmark spreadsheet internally at Tuff to start and make adjustments depending on the industry and what we’ve seen from running hundreds of campaigns. 

Here are some of the best resources to leverage for getting benchmarks to sub for your historical data. 

This data will help you understand what to expect and help you come up with realistic (and smarter!) allocations. 

Make sure you are tracking the right metrics  

One of the most vital parts of growth marketing is assessing data. Having those numbers in front of you helps you make informed decisions about everything from product adjustments to marketing campaigns. Without this data, you’re just guessing.

Before you dive too deep into budget, you have to set up conversion tracking and analytics. Start by identifying and measuring the metrics critical to your company and then make sure you’re set up to track each campaign. 

Focus on collecting actionable data 

When you’re testing new channels and setting your experimentation budget, it’s not about just getting results. We understand that when you look at businesses like Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb, it can be tempting to imagine that they have uncovered some secret sauce for instant success, and you just need to figure out the recipe.

Well, the thing is that you have to start somewhere, and you have to get data that’s significant to your company. Here are the five steps:

  • Start with a testing budget (see figure out your starting point)
  • Experiment with new channels
  • Figure out what works and what doesn’t work
  • Quickly retool your approach
  • Then attack every possible angle to unearth that hidden growth potential

If you want more info on CAC or CPS estimates based on how successful certain channels have been for clients, schedule a free growth marketing strategy session with our team today. We’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business to help you build a growth marketing strategy mapped to your goals. 

Person working at a computer.

9 Ready-to-Go Growth Marketing Spreadsheets Startups Can Use to Boost Productivity

Person working at a computer.

One of our team values at Tuff is to work smarter, not harder. For the work that we do, this often means creating clear and repeatable processes.

We also think dashboards are a little overrated. 

Although they give you a snapshot of important metrics, and they look good, dashboards aren’t great at providing the details or context that effective data-driven decision making requires. 

This is why spreadsheets have been such a staple for our team, helping us to collaborate more efficiently with our startup partners, track budgets and core metrics, see our growth more clearly, organize our experiments, and get more work done

That being said, building the right spreadsheets that are actually helpful and relevant to your startup can be time-consuming. We’d love to help.

We’ve pulled together a list of the essential spreadsheets and templates we have used and improved to help prioritize experiments, run campaigns, and track growth for Tuff and our startup partners.  

Let’s jump in…

For many of the growth marketing spreadsheets linked below, you can download as an .xls file to use and customize in Excel or Google Docs. Google Doc users can also go to “File > Make a Copy …” to add the spreadsheet to their account, then edit.

1. Growth Marketing Framework 

Growth marketing spreadsheet.
Use for: Prioritizing and tracking your growth marketing experiments

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

We discovered this Growth Marketing Framework spreadsheet after attending Sid Bharath’s talk at the GrowthMentor summit last year. We tested it out on our own and it’s quickly become a go-to for our team when we need to prioritize campaigns, identify new experiments, and find big wins for our partners. We like it so much that we have one for Tuff that we look at weekly as a team. 

In this spreadsheet, you have four core tabs: 

  • Customer Personas 
  • Customer Journey 
  • Tactics Backlog 
  • Experiments 

Our favorite part about this spreadsheet is that your customer personas exist in the same spreadsheet as your ideas. In the past, we built out personas in a word doc or slides with visuals and descriptors, and sometimes we still do. But having your target audience in the same place you go to list ideas and pick experiments is extremely helpful when it comes to prioritization. Before we add any ideas to our backlog, we can revisit our personas, their journey, and then truly assess if they are the right fit for our audience. With this setup, your personas become a driving force for tactics instead of an afterthought. You end up with experiments that hit the mark more often because they’ve passed the persona check. 

2. Channel Projections for Experiments 

Marketing projections spreadsheet.

Use for: Forecasting budget based on historical data and determining projected performance 

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

We get these two questions a lot: How much should I spend? And, what can I get in return? 

In order to set monthly budgets and projections, we start with core KPIs. What are we trying to achieve? Do we want to book more demos, increase sales, drive more leads? Once we understand these goals, we can forecast budget based on historical data and determine projected performance using this spreadsheet. This isn’t an exact science but it helps us align as a team about what we’re trying to achieve based on specific targets. It also helps you know how much you need in the bank to test and learn. 

For traffic and conversion rate data, we lean on tools like Google Analytics, Shopify, Metorik, Firebase, Salesforce, Facebook, and Google Ads. If you don’t have this data available because you haven’t experimented on these channels, you can still use this spreadsheet, you’ll just need to take bigger leaps with the numbers based on industry averages. 

3. Growth Marketing Scorecard 

Growth marketing scorecard.

Use for: Tracking results daily, weekly, and monthly in one shared spreadsheet

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

When you’re running experiments and testing new campaigns, we like to have a reporting template that gives us true insight into what’s working and what’s not. We use this spreadsheet to track daily, weekly, and monthly results for our campaigns. 

One of the most important things about this scorecard is that it’s 100% manual. While there are a bunch of automated dashboards out there, after three years and 35 startups, we still think this is the best option for our team and partners in the early stages. It’s simple (no fluff) and sticks to the most important metrics. While pulling the data from various sources takes time (about 10 minutes each morning), it gives you an opportunity to really look at the data, dig into what it’s telling us, and then make smarter optimizations and budget allocations. 

4. UTM Generator for Campaigns (Tracking) 

UTM Generator Spreadsheet.

Use for: Understanding which campaigns are driving meaningful results 

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

UTM codes are snippets of text added to the end of a URL to help you track where website traffic comes from if users click a link to this URL. If you’re anything like the data-driven campaign managers on the Tuff team, you probably don’t run any campaigns without UTM parameters. By tagging your URLs with UTMs, you can get a good understanding of how your visitors interact with your website, allocate budget more efficiently, and cut out anything that isn’t working. For a full rundown on UTMs, we turn to Niel Patel’s ultimate UTM guide here

So what’s with this spreadsheet? If you’re running multiple campaigns and experimenting quickly, it’s easy to lose track of your URLs. For example, we have a batch of Facebook campaigns active right now, with 23 different audiences, using 23 different URLS. These can add up! This spreadsheet keeps all active URLs organized so anyone on the team can check the URL, review performance in Google Analytics, and then help make smarter marketing decisions at the campaign level.

5. Blog Post Traffic Tracker from Buffer (Content) 

Blog Post Traffic Tracker from Buffer.

Use for: Knowing which posts are gaining the most traffic 

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

This is one of the best spreadsheets to understand how your content is stacking up. If you don’t have a blog yet, skip this spreadsheet. 

The blog post traffic spreadsheet from Buffer enables you to keep an eye on which posts are hitting your traffic goals and it’s also really great to keep an eye on what topics are performing best, too. While this is easy to see in Google Analytics, pulling the data into a spreadsheet helps you benchmark performance more easily to identify content wins. 

One of the more actionable ways we use this spreadsheet is to help us identify articles we want to update. To increase the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and boost your search engine traffic, you canupdate your old content and give yourself an improved freshness score. 

Buffer has 10 other very helpful social media and content spreadsheets here, in case you want more. 

6. Budget Tracker for PPC Campaigns (Paid) 

Google ads budget tracker.

Use for: Creating an automated monthly budget pacing dashboard for Google Ads

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

When you build this spreadsheet, you’ll get a quick glimpse at how your budget is pacing for the month on Google Ads. This can be helpful when you have specific monthly targets you want to hit. 

With this spreadsheet you can see how far through the month you are, what percent of spend you’ve used, and how close you are tracking towards your goal. For example, you might be 61% of the way through your budget but only 53% of the way to your revenue goal. 

This works best with larger budgets (below $1,000 per month is less effective) but as you ramp up, it can help you stay more efficient and effective with your spend. 

7. Influencer Marketing Template (Influencer)  

Influencer marketing spreadsheet.

Use for: Managing and tracking your Instagram influencer marketing campaign 

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

Performance-based influencer campaigns can drive revenue and user growth if you can tap into the right communities. 

The way that this spreadsheet works is simple. Once you’ve defined your niche and set goals for your influencer program, you can start compiling your influencers in this spreadsheet. From here, you can start to calculate each influencer’s engagement rate. This will tell you who has an active audience. 

There are a bunch of different ways to calculate engagement rates and this spreadsheet uses the below formula: 

ER post = Total engagements on a post / Total followers *100.

A higher engagement rate typically spells out a wider reach and stronger influence. 

Again, this is another manual process and it takes time. If you find early traction with your program in the first 90 days, we recommend transitioning to a tool to help manage as you scale. 

8. Email User Onboarding Flow (Email) 

Email user onboarding spreadsheet.

Use for: Building and visualizing your welcome email flow  

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

Installs, sign ups, and demos mean nothing if you can’t keep your users — which makes your onboarding email campaign incredibly important. 

We use this template to outline our Email user flow from start to finish. For a successful strategy, it helps us: 

  • Set a goal for each email in the series 
  • Set timing for each email 
  • See the entire flow at once 

From here, you can start thinking about copy, CTAs, and design for each email, benchmark performance, and start testing. This structure has helped us get higher retention rates and increase revenue. 

Bonus Template: If you don’t have an onboarding flow for new customers or leads, this email marketing planning template from Hubspot is handy for planning marketing and transactional emails. 

9. Google Ads Keyword Audit (Paid)

Google Ads Keyword Audit Spreadsheet.

Use for: Efficiently auditing your PPC keywords & search queries to identify top performers based on ROAS.

Grab a copy of this spreadsheet here >>

When it comes to optimizing paid search campaigns, keyword optimizations can oftentimes be time-consuming, scattered, or – even worse – ineffective. A keyword with a high CTR and low CPC may be performing well at first glance, but these are surface-level metrics and they don’t necessarily correlate with the most important metrics.

Organizing your keywords and search queries into a format that helps you focus on what really matters the most – in this case, ROAS – will give you a clear picture of which keywords to invest more money into and which keywords to scrap from your campaign(s).

To use this spreadsheet, export your keyword report from Google Analytics for your chosen time period. Be sure to include the following attributes: Keyword, Campaign, Clicks, Cost, CPC, User, Sessions, Ecommerce Conversion Rate (or Goal Conversion Rate), Transactions (or Goals Completions), & Revenue.

The first row in this spreadsheet maps to these attributes. In Column K, you’ll find a ROAS calculation equipped with Conditional Formatting that will provide you with a quick visual representation of your Keyword success.

As a starting point, we’ve got Conditional Formatting set up to turn cells in Column K green when the ROAS is greater than or equal 250% and red when the ROAS is less than or equal to 150%.

With your exported data placed in this sheet, you’ll quickly see which of your keywords are driving the best ROAS.

To help sort, we have a filter placed in row 1 that provides you with endless filtering and sorting options. There’s also a nifty word count formula in Column L which will provide some insight into how your long tail and short tail keyword performance compare.

Run the same report at the Search Query level and compare it with your Keyword list. You may find some standout queries that can be added as Exact Match keywords to your campaigns.

Happy Spreadsheeting-ing

Thanks for reading! I hope you picked up one or two new tips and tricks for your spreadsheets here.

I’d love to hear what growth marketing spreadsheets your team has been using? What has worked well for you?

 

Growth Marketing Tips to Turn Your Crowdfunded Product Into a Sustainable Business

More and more, crowdfunding has become a popular way of launching new products. You can get access to the capital you need, gain market validation, hedge some risk, and even pre-sell some of your product. But how do you convert viral excitement for your product into a flesh-and-blood, thriving business?

In this post, we’ll talk you through the steps to take in the immediate aftermath of hitting your funding goal to ensure that you make the transition from funded startup to a stable business with sustainable growth potential. The post-campaign phase is going to be an especially sensitive time in the life of your business, so it’s important that you move not just quickly, but strategically.

1. Get to Know Your Backers

You probably did a bit of market research before you rolled out your crowdfunding campaign, so you may know who your target market is, but it’s time to take that one step further. Crafting customer personas is one of the best ways to lay the proper foundation for growth marketing campaigns.

Looking at hard numbers and data about the people who funded your campaign will help you build a three-dimensional picture of who you’re selling to. Once you’ve converted that data into a persona, you can use that to determine which tactics you should experiment with first, because you’ll know where the customer is going to be and how you should be speaking to them there.

Once you’ve filled in all the details about your current customers, you can feed that back into product development. Knowing your audience—and we mean really knowing them—is key in ensuring that you not only make them happy with this one product but continue to build the kinds of products that will keep them coming back for more.

2. Get Your Website Up and Running

Once your campaign hits its fundraising goal, your first thought will probably be about fulfilling your commitments to backers. But at the same time, you’ve got to make sure you’re laying the groundwork necessary to bring in even more new customers.

The best way to do this is to make sure you have an attractive, user-friendly website to direct people to. Choose the platform that best fits your ecommerce needs (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.), and then focus on building pages that will easily and consistently convert. There are a few elements that need to be present on your pages to make that happen.

Clear Pricing Info
Don’t make people hunt for the numbers. If they have to scroll through paragraphs of text before to figure out how much the product costs, you’re bound to lose people. Put your pricing information front and center. Yes, this may weed out potential customers who are not willing to spend what you’re asking, but setting those clear expectations upfront will prevent customer frustration in the long run.

Trust Indicators (Reviews, Testimonials, Photos, etc.)
Your company is new, and anyone can raise funds on a crowdsourcing site, so the onus is on you to prove that your product is worth purchasing. You can do this by showcasing indicators of consumer trust for potential new customers. Your site should include high-quality images of your product(s) as well as reviews from verified purchasers and/or customer testimonials.

Seamless Checkout Process
Cart abandonment is a regular struggle for anyone who manages an e-commerce site. Consumers these days seem to have very little patience for slow processing, so it’s important that your checkout procedure be as painless and intuitive as possible.

Optimized for Mobile
Every year, more and more commercial transactions are taking place on mobile devices. While you need to make sure your desktop site functions smoothly, you really need to make sure your mobile site is optimized as well as possible for the most popular devices. Keep an eye on things like loading times, pop-ups, navigation, and visual design.

3. Scale Up Your Team

With limited time to deliver backer rewards and limited funds with which to do it, you may be tempted to take too much on yourself in an attempt to avoid adding payroll to your list of costs. But now is not the time to wear all the hats. You need to level up your team, but you must do it smartly.

Remember that hiring too quickly can hurt you, and so can hiring the wrong people. The pressure to deliver can feel really strong, but keep in mind that these hires are building the very foundation of your business. You want to make sure you’re bringing in the best possible people!

With that in mind, remember that now is not the time for high-level specialists with ultra-focused skill sets. You want someone who can plug-in where they’re needed and bring energy, effort, and results. Look for candidates that are scrappy, creative, and flexible.

You can hire someone to come on full-time and in-house, or you can partner with an external contractor or team to help support the initiatives that are a top priority for you in this phase. If you hire out-of-house, make sure that your partner is integrated fully into your business. They should function as a natural extension of your company, not a separate third party.

Regardless of which direction you go, make sure whoever you hire has done something like this in the past. Look for five or more years of experience in scaling brands with special attention paid to the consistency of their strategy and execution. They should have a visible, proven track record of growing startup revenue.

4. Establish Processes and Start Collecting Data

The real strength of a good growth marketing plan is assessing data and using it to make informed decisions about product development and marketing campaign direction. There are a few standard data and analytics tools that all startups should leverage from the beginning.

Google Analytics
This free service is absolutely essential for helping you gather data about how people are interacting with your website and how you can improve. It will integrate seamlessly with AdWords and other platforms that you’re likely to use for marketing, and it allows you the option of fully customized reporting. It can help you beef up the design of your site, determine where to focus your social media dollars, and aid in tracking your goals. It’s really indispensable.

Facebook Pixel
Retargeting is one of the best ways to recapture current and potential new customers and drive sales. Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that will track your website visitors so that you can serve them targeted ads on Facebook in the future, and keep up with what happens when they return to your site. It should be a key component of your social media plan if you’re using Facebook Ads.

Google Ads Pixel
Similar to the Facebook Pixel, this tool will allow you to track what actions customers are taking after they interact with your ad. This data is invaluable when you’re making decisions about where to focus your ad spend and how to increase conversions.

Google Search Console
This tool works in conjunction with Google Analytics to help you develop a fully realized vision of how your website is functioning. Where Analytics focuses mainly on user data and demographics, Search Console also helps you identify malware, improve website performance, and determine how website visitors are finding you in the first place, whether through pages that are linking to you or through search queries.

These five tools are just a starting point for collecting the data you need to develop a robust growth marketing plan, but implementing them as soon as possible after your campaign is funded will ensure that you’re making the most informed decisions, even in these early days of your business.

5. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

Once you’ve got your website up and running, your team together, and you’ve implemented some core processes for collecting and analyzing data, it’s go time. Look at what the numbers are telling you and quickly identify which channels are going to provide you with the highest possible ROI. Then hone in on those and work to scale them.

Here at Tuff, we always make sure to revisit the customer personas and user data to help us prioritize which channels and tactics to tackle first. Some of the most common campaigns we initiate from that point include:

Facebook/Instagram
Social media is one of the lowest-cost advertising platforms available, and if you leverage your data smartly, you can get even more bang for your buck. Focus on delivering strong, relevant content to highly targeted audiences to see the best possible returns.

Google Shopping
Utilizing this channel could mean your product landing in front of thousands more potential customers. It’s simple to use, but it’s important that you understand how the bid system works if you want to maximize your returns, as competition in this space is steadily increasing.

Retargeting
As we mentioned above, serving retargeting ads to customers who have already visited your site can be a powerful driver of sales. If done correctly, it can also be great for your budget. But there is a fine line to walk here, as customers can become annoyed or feel a sense of privacy invasion by seeing the same retargeting ads over and over again.

SEO
The more people who see your business in organic search results, the less work your paid ads have to do to bring in qualified leads, right? Optimizing your website for search engine crawling is, therefore, often one of the best ways to stimulate strong ROI. Pay attention to not only your on-page optimization for product pages, but all your site’s content.

Receiving funding for your product is such an exciting time, but there are pitfalls aplenty on the other side of crowdfunding campaigns. This is a time to move with intention and purpose and set the stage for not just fulfilling backer rewards, but for the entire future of this business venture.

If you’ve just completed a crowdfunding campaign and you’re not sure where to go from here, the Tuff team can help you make sense of it all. We’d be happy to set up one of our free 30-minute strategy sessions to discuss your business’s unique challenges and strengths. We’ll bring actionable tips, and together, we can explore the best possible routes for achieving and maintaining profitable growth for your new business.

tuff-30-minute-ppc-audit

The 30-Minute PPC Audit Anyone Can Do

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and fresh content. 

Original Publication Date: January 1, 2020 

Let’s get one thing about a PPC audit off our chest. We know our PPC accounts aren’t always perfect 100% of the time. Audits are one of the best tools we have for making small, sustainable improvements.

That’s why we routinely conduct audits for our clients. Incorporating this step into our PPC management process helps us catch small issues before they become big issues.

As we start another year managing our clients’ PPC accounts, we’re taking the time to audit our efforts more extensively. The main purpose of a deep-dive PPC audit is to help our clients with marketing strategy development. These audits help us:

  • understand historical performance in a way that allows us to set better goals
  • identify the right metrics we should be measuring
  • highlight room for improvement

Many of our clients leverage our expertise and data insights to help create and finalize their marketing goals and budgets. To help contribute to these strategy efforts, we conduct a PPC audit to offer reliable projections to determine spend, number of leads, cost per lead, conversion rate, sales, and more. Hopefully this post can help you do the same!

The following checklist outlines the different account areas you can dive into during your PPC audit and what items to look for.

Date Range

Instead of focusing on a short window of time, we like to focus on the entire year. You don’t want to get buried in too much data, but you do need enough data for your audit to be statistically relevant. For this year’s year end audit, we selected January 1, 2019 – November 1, 2019. 

Google Ads performance.

Metrics

The next step you want to do before digging into the data is select the metrics you want to evaluate your account by.

To avoid analysis paralysis, it’s crucial to strip away the excess and focus on the paid search advertising metrics that provide actionable insight. Assessing critical paid search advertising metrics during your audit will allow you to monitor and improve digital performance.

Here are the top 6 metrics we like to include in a PPC audit:

  • Channel Growth
  • Conversion Rate
  • Acquisition
  • Cost Per Order (or Cost Per Lead)
  • Sales
  • Revenue

PPC Audit Checklist

Review Campaign Settings

Your account structure should be divided into a number of campaigns based on clear categorical buckets.

If your strategy is to organize by market ー for instance state, city, or county ー your campaigns should be labeled with the associated market. If your strategy is to organize by product type or service, your campaigns should be labeled with the associated product or service. Keeping a clear naming structure at the account level will help you stay organized and reduce reporting time.

You don’t want your campaigns to look like this:

Screenshot of Google AdWords Campaigns dropdown

The key is to avoid numbers and over-complicated naming conventions – keep it simple, straightforward. Essentially, are the campaigns numbered A-Z or do they have unique names that explain what kind of ad groups you’re going to find and what type of campaign type it is?

Access Ad Group Relevancy

It’s tough to get potential customers to convert if their pay-per-click experience is not relevant. One of the best ways to make their click experience more relevant is to match the creative and copy of your ad to the search term of the user.

High-Intent Search Term —> Hyper-Specific Ads —-> Relevant Landing Page

How can you do this? Scan your account to find ad groups that hold more than 15-20 keywords. These are likely the groups that will require the most review and clean-up.

Why does the number of keywords matter so much? While your ad groups’ keyword count won’t impact performance, remember that you want your ads to be as relevant as possible. When you have a huge list of keywords, it typically includes various themes, meaning you’re forced to write generic ad copy.

Rather than serving generic ad copy to a large list of keywords, you want to break out your ad groups into lists of granular, related keywords that share the same theme. When you do this, you can create hyper-specific ads for each ad group that will help you increase your quality score and click-through rate.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are the extra snippets of information Google allows advertisers to add to their Expanded Text ads to provide more relevant information to searchers. Ad extensions can help improve click-through rates and give you more real-estate on the page. They are an important part of the PPC audit to pay attention to. If your account doesn’t have any ad extensions set up, get on it!

If you have extensions in place, double-check that the extensions are running successfully. Are your sitelinks truly representative of your business? Can you check your call extension to make sure someone is answering the phone when it rings?

Pro-tip: If you’re using call extensions to drive phone calls to your business, make sure to use the advanced settings to set your call extensions to run only during your hours of business. This way, you won’t be wasting money on calls to your business that no one is available to answer. You can also set your call extension to have a mobile device preference, serving your ads with the right extension to the right users at the right time.

Google ad call extensions

Check Number of Ads and Ad Copy

Scan your account to find ad groups that only have one ad running. These are likely the groups that will require the most review and clean-up. We generally recommend having a minimum of three ads per ad group to improve account optimization.

However, you also don’t want to have a ton of ads per ad group. The sweet spot is typically somewhere between 2-3 ads. This amount keeps the account manageable while giving you enough data to run split tests. Let your ads run two weeks, identify a winner, pause the losing ads and test out new options against your winner.

While you are reviewing your ads, don’t forget to focus on the basics as well. Are all of your ads grammatically correct? Do any of the ads have spelling errors? Are they promoting the most relevant offers?

Review Settings

Analyzing your campaign settings is a simple activity that takes less than five minutes. We love digging into campaign settings because it’s generally something that is set up when the campaigns are created and then never looked at again. There are probably some juicy adjustments to be made.

In the settings tab, you can check and optimize device performance, ad delivery method, ad scheduling, ad rotation, and location/language targeting.

Key items to focus on:

  • Is your campaign targeting search and display traffic? If so, fixing this can be a big win for your account. The main problem with targeting search and display within one campaign is that these networks target users in two completely different scenarios. You can’t get a clear understanding of performance and your ads are less effective.
  • Are you serving your ads in all available target markets? Check your locations settings to make sure you are targeting all the countries, states, cities, or counties relevant to your business. Here you can make bid adjustments based on the target locations you value the most.
  • Are you making device bid adjustments? Review your performance by device – mobile, desktop, and tablet. If your performance alters by device, you can make adjustments to prioritize your top performing devices.

Review Audience Targeting 

Your ad groups are setup and optimized, you’ve got the right amount of ads and the right copy ready to go, your keywords are fine-tuned, and your campaign settings are exactly what you want. What else can you focus on to make sure your campaigns are as effective as possible? The right audience targeting.

Oftentimes, advertisers are very familiar with audience targeting including remarketing audiences, when it comes to display campaigns. However, adding relevant audiences to your search campaigns can be an effective way to gain insights into your market, while also boosting your performance.

In addition to keyword targeting, you also have the ability to add in-market audiences and custom intent audiences to your search campaigns. We recommend setting these audiences at the ‘Observation’ level for targeting, which means that users that Google has not grouped into these in-market or custom intent audiences can still be served your ads as they search for your target keywords.

Google ads audience targeting.

A major benefit of adding audiences at the Observation level is the ability to add bid adjustments to these specific audiences. After adding some audiences and gathering data, review the performance of your audiences and decide if they are performing better than the average user who has interacted with the campaign. If so, add an appropriate positive bid adjustment to these audiences (e.g. 15-30%).

Pro-tip: consider adding remarketing audiences to your search campaigns. This tactic, known as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, or RLSA for short, is especially effective if you have a lot of traffic. 

For example, if you have an eCommerce site and receive a lot of traffic, you most likely have a lot of abandoned carts. Consider creating an abandoned cart audience for remarketing and adding this audience to your search campaigns with a solid bid adjustment. The users in this audience have already shown high intent by adding a product to their cart. How much more than your standard bid would you willing to pay to get these audiences back to your site when they are searching for your targeted keywords? 20%..35%…maybe even 50% more? 

Triple Check Conversion Tracking

Last but not least in the PPC audit, are you tracking conversions properly? Neglecting to track conversions is a massive PPC mistake.

Without conversion data, it’s impossible to understand what’s working and what’s not. Here are some common conversion errors that you can watch out for:

  • Your not measuring phone call conversions from search and digital. We strongly recommend setting up CallRail to track calls from PPC. Setting your account up to track phone calls will help you optimize your marketing and increase ROI.
  • Your clicks and conversions are exactly the same. If you see this in your account, you have your conversion tracking code on every page of your website, rather than just your order confirmation/thank you page. Unlike your remarketing tag, your conversion tag should only be placed on the page that appears after a conversion has been completed.
  • Your conversion count is super low. A suspiciously low number of conversions could mean you’re missing conversions. Before abandoning your PPC efforts altogether, double-check to make sure conversion status isn’t “unverified” or “tag inactive”. If you see either of these errors, re-install your conversion tag and follow these steps to verify the setup is correct.

Your turn!

We strongly encourage marketing teams to conduct a PPC audit quarterly and annually so they can search for new and better solutions to improve campaigns. While the above checklist can easily be completed in 30 minutes, if you’re interested in a more comprehensive check, it may be better to outsource the project and get fresh eyes.

Tuff offers a free PPC audit and would love to learn more about your company and goals.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

Got Funding? 5 Growth Marketing Steps to Take Now

Woman brainstorming on whiteboard

Securing funding for your business is a major step. And it’s something you should rightfully celebrate. But when the champagne runs dry, you’ll probably be feeling the crunch to get things moving.

Receiving financial backing is encouraging for startups because it means that people believe in you and your idea. But it also means that you now have external parties involved. And with those parties comes a lot of associated pressure and expectation (and fun!).

You’ve got money in the bank now, however, so the time has come to move quickly and strategically. The goal should be putting those funds to the best use while showing your stakeholders that they backed the right horse. There are five key steps you need to take after a funding round to capitalize on this exciting and important time in the life of your business.

1. Level up your team

For most companies, once they’ve got some funds to work with, their first thought goes to team.

The first element you’ll need to consider is whether you want to hire someone to be in-house full time, or whether it’s more beneficial to partner with an external team. Whichever direction you choose to go, your focus should be on finding people with a specific and proven track record of success in growing startup revenue.

There are a lot of talented potential hires out there, but you want to make sure you’re prioritizing the candidates that have real-life experience with this kind of growth work. You’ll want to look for people who have clocked five or more years of time scaling brands, and doing it with rock-solid strategy and execution.

If you choose to bring someone in-house, at this early stage, what you need the most are generalists. You want a growth marketer who has a broad knowledge covering a wide range of tactics with in-depth knowledge in one or two specific areas.

If you choose to partner with an external team during this phase of your growth, look for a team that is efficient, decisive, and ready to learn and adapt. Work to integrate them fully into your business, both via processes and communication channels.

Whether you go with internal or external hires, making smart moves and putting together a strong team with proven growth experience will be a clear signal to your investors. It will reassure them that you have the skills within the team to execute on your plan and deliver on your plan.

2. Rally behind shared goals

Having other people’s money in your hands can give you a real sense of urgency to deliver results. But you can’t do that effectively if you haven’t even defined what success looks like.

Everyone should deeply understand the driving force of the company. To do this, you need to identify the growth marketing metrics that matter most to you and make sure everyone on the team is working towards those.

Additionally, you need to make sure there is buy-in from top to bottom. A company’s founder(s) will naturally always be the most invested in the mission of the brand, but if you hire smart and discuss these metrics early on, the entire team can move like one cohesive unit.

And for your existing employees, remember that raising capital is an exciting but stressful time. Once it passes and you’ve secured that money, it can be easy for people to drop the ball or forget what they were working towards in the first place. So rally around your people, and be in constant conversation with them.

At Tuff, we think this step is so critical to success that we hold weekly meetings with our startup clients. We align on goals, see how we’re pacing, and make sure we’re always learning and inching closer to our north star.

3. Refine your processes

Again, it’s totally understandable if you’re eager to move immediately once you receive funding. But if you want to build truly sustainable growth, you have to lay the groundwork first.

To that end, we suggest that you refrain from implementing any new tactics for the first 30 days after securing funding. Focus instead on setting up the right processes before diving into the execution phase of things.

Regardless of whether you hire in-house or bring in a partner like Tuff, your growth marketing team is going to need time to dig deeper on:

  • Mission
  • Business Objectives & Key Metris
  • Unique Selling Point
  • Reviews and Customer Insights
  • Product
  • Business operations
  • Previous market efforts
  • Performance metrics (CPM – CTR – CPA – CAC – LTV)
  • Organic Traction

Then, they’ll need to put on paper a full-funnel roadmap to reach your growth goals. One that outlines tactics, deliverables, testing plan, and spend.

You want to move as quickly as possible in this phase, but you also want to move strategically, with purpose and intention. Doing so will not only provide better results for you but will also show your investors that you are taking a thoughtful and measured approach. Taking the time to do things right shows them that you respect their contributions and intend to utilize them efficiently.

4. Identify what works and scale that

You’re growing, and that’s great, but chances are that if you’re moving smartly, you’re still operating in a pretty lean fashion. Your time, money, and people are limited, and you can’t afford to waste any of that on channels that aren’t profitable.

Let your team do some quick experimenting, document the results, and uncover the channels that provide you with the most generous returns. Then throw all your energy into effectively and smartly scaling those channels to show your investors some timely and reassuring results. This will help you get an early win and increase everyone’s confidence across the board.

5.Test it all, internalize every number, and use those results to inform what you do next

This one is so important. You can hire great people and rally them around your vision, but if you don’t track the details of what is and isn’t working with your strategies, you’ll get stuck once you’re ready to scale.

One of the most vital parts of growth marketing is assessing data. Having those numbers in front of you helps you make informed decisions about everything from product adjustments to marketing campaigns. Without this data, you’re effectively shooting blind.

Leveraging the data you gather to improve your performance is what separates good companies from great companies. Don’t rely on hunches or surface metrics to determine your course of action, either. Dig into the hard numbers, and let them lead you in the right direction. We promise they won’t steer you wrong.

Getting funding for your business is exciting. And we understand how much hard work it takes to get there. To honor all that effort, though, it’s important that you take the right steps after a funding round to get the most out of what you’ve been given.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-user-acquisition-channels

How to Find Your User Acquisition Channels

tuff-user-acquisition-channels

Figuring out which user acquisition channels are going to drive the most growth is key to your business success.

Acquisition channels are diverse and plenty. With many options, how can you create a channel strategy that will really accomplish your goals?

Few companies can afford to actively use more than a handful of channels and, even so, it’s tough to figure out which ones are actually delivering the right customers.

I’ve spent the past few years working with all kinds of businesses across a range of industries to help them figure this out. Instead of sharing a whole list of tactics you can try out yourself, I’m going to share the one consistent strategy I’ve seen add more to the bottom line than any specific channel –  trial and error.

It can seem overwhelming at the start, but testing and optimization should become part of your growth DNA. What might seem like a steep learning curve will turn into a path with long-term payoff when you get it right.

Let’s dive in.

Focus on your users, not your channel

There’s so much out there, it’s often hard to know where to start. As a business owner, you might feel a lot of pressure to continue coming up with new ways to connect with and reach your audience.

However, there’s one fundamental thing you need to focus on and continue focusing on from day one. To successfully manage your tests and increase the chances of success, listen to users and understand their perspective. User research is a priority that should, in some way, find a home within the design of any new channel or tactic strategy.

Whether you have 1,000 customers or 100,000, focus on the already successful users and uncover the user acquisition channels that converted these people. Uncover as much as you can about these people to help your growth team understand what triggers and motivates them to take action. What was their user journey with your product or service and how can you repeat it with future customers? Doing this on a regular basis will give you the right lens to narrow the types of tactics and channels that are most likely to drive a positive response from prospective customers.

Set clear goals

If you’re early in your business, finding growth channels is about traction – not scale. With that in mind, before you start experimenting, make sure you’ve set clear goals you’d like to achieve – even if you don’t have much data to base them on.

Whatever user acquisition channels you attempt, testing and refining campaigns will be a critical part of the process. It’s important to measure the ROI of your efforts by channel so that you know which need a bit of tuning and which need a complete makeover or be dropped.

There’s been a lot written about goal-setting! And, you might already know what works best for you. Here are some of our favorite resources if you’d like to learn more about setting intentional goals:

Create a ridiculously long list of channels and tactics

Have a million and one things rattling around in your head? Good! Just get it all out there.

A brain dump can help you organize your thoughts and feel more in control, especially when you use it to create a growth list like this one.

Get your team together and build your user acquisition channels list – write it down, type it out, drop it into Google Sheets, whatever you want to do. Don’t worry if it’s unorganized or sporadic, you’ll restructure it later.

A chart of possible user acquisition channels

 

Evaluate channel possibility

So you have a big list, now what?

Even lean testing means an entirely new set of processes, resources, and outputs, so it’s important to be intentional with how you and your team spend your time. Attempting to drive growth on too many user acquisition channels at the same time will divide your resources and dilutes your focus.

One way to manage your tests and increase the chances of success is to spend time upfront evaluating emerging channels—the idea is to test and get early access to good opportunities, but you can’t do everything.

Consider the following questions to help you prioritize channels with a “high propensity” to work for your business:

  • Does the channel have an audience that roughly matches your customer personas?
  • Is this channel crowded or emerging? Are your competitors there and will you have to shell out buckets of cash to play?
  • What part of the buyer’s journey do you believe the customer is in when they’re spending time on this platform? How does that align with your business goals?
  • Can you effectively filter your ads to reach only your target audience to better manage your costs and get the best bang for your buck?
  • Is this a compounding loop? Will this channel enable our users to grow the product for us?

Assemble a team to make it happen

We have seen a lot of founders focus on growth strategies. The starting point for that is almost always, “What should the structure for the growth team be?”

As we’ve outlined in the process above, the first step is defining the user acquisition channels that will or have the biggest impact on growth, and working your way backward to the team needed to execute effectively. When you do that, you will quickly realize that to execute on your ideas you need a cross-functional team with a mix of engineering, product, data, design, marketing, and sales skills. The mix will depend on the particular channel you test.

Which is why I love that we are building Tuff not just for our clients, but also with them. We believe the future of growth agencies is in being value drivers, rather than service providers. Sure, we have a number of top-notch services we regularly execute. But, it’s bigger than that.  In order for you to find traction and scale growth for your business, you need a customizable, plug-in growth team.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-grow-email-list

How to Grow Your Startup’s Email List

Person typing on laptop for growing email list

We sometimes get questions about how other clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. Meet Daycation.

Daycation is a Miami-founded startup that allows people to book “daycations,” gaining access to hotel amenities without staying the night. Traditionally, people must check in as hotel guests to access amenities like pools, lounges, hot tubs, gyms, and private beaches. Now, with Daycation’s network of beautiful, on-demand hotels, users can visit their site and easily book hassle-free day experiences.

We worked with Daycation to grow their email list. In two weeks, we added 1,000 new subscribers at an acquisition cost of $1.15 per subscriber. In addition to the list growth, 25 of the new subscribers booked a Daycation within 30 days of joining the email list.

Why Daycation Focused On Growing Their Email List

For starters, email has been the #1 most profitable marketing channel for ten years in a row. From this one statistic alone, it isn’t hard to see why you need to grow your startup’s email list. It is a key piece of any well-rounded user acquisition effort.

From a growth perspective, it is the statistics on customer acquisition costs that make email a no-brainer for a business like Daycation. According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

While we had launched a number of acquisition channels for Daycation, including paid social and chat, we were looking to build an email list of valuable subscribers. Because Daycation is a transactional marketplace, we were confident that email marketing would be a more effective channel than social for driving people to their website and getting them to sign up and purchase a day pass.

So, how did we attract 1000+ new subscribers in two weeks?

Let’s dive in and take a look.

Daycation’s Playbook:

  • Everything begins with great content or value. People will find your site because of your amazing content. They will keep coming back because you provide relevant value. Your content will be the foundation of what you email to them, which will be the reason they stay subscribed (or hit unsubscribe!). For Daycation, we decided to run a cabana giveaway in Miami. In exchange for an email address, people entered for a chance to win a day pass and cabana for four at one of Miami’s top luxury pools.
  • Once you have the right content, you need to start putting your landing page together. Creating a high converting landing page isn’t rocket science. However, creating an effective page involves more than simply designing something that looks good. For Daycation, we leveraged these nine components of a killer landing page and mocked a wireframe using InVision.
  • The page went live, and we needed to get the word out. For Daycation, that meant adding a banner to the homepage of the site, as well as tapping into paid social. We launched Facebook and Instagram campaigns, targeting a specific subset of customers who were most similar to their best current customers.

Screenshot of a Facebook ad for Daycation

Screenshot of an Instagram ad for Daycation

  • Every interaction with someone is a chance to influence their opinion about your business. The minute you collect an email you can start providing relevant value and the message you send is critical. Using Customer.io, when someone signed up for the giveaway, we triggered the confirmation email below. For a large percentage of this list, this was the first email they ever received from Daycation. This is a large opportunity to make a lasting first impression. Try your best to step away from a transactional mindset and show your companies personality.

Screenshot of an email from Daycation

  • We ran the giveaway for two weeks, spreading the word to as many people as possible. Once the campaign ended, we announced the winner through email, sending the entire list a $10 off coupon code on their next Daycation.

Screenshot of an email from Daycation

The Results:

Duration:
2 Weeks

Ad Spend:
$1,215.76

New Subscribers:
1,264 new subscribers

Cost Per Subscriber:
$1.15

Subscriber Purchases (within 30 days):
25

Next Steps:

Our focus on email didn’t end with the cabana giveaway. You’re not just looking to grow your startup’s email list and present a nice vanity metric. It can be easy to just focus on building the list and see the number of subscribers growing and call it a success. Once you have a healthy list of emails, you need to continue focusing on the value you provide to your users with email. What is the end goal and conversion you’re looking for them to make? 

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-facebook-ad-copywriting-strategies

Refining Your Facebook Ad Copy For A Lower CAC

Person updating Facebook ad copy on laptopReady to start using Facebook ads to acquire more customers? 

As an agency with social advertising experts, we’re fortunate to run and test quite a few Facebook ads every week. This means lots of copywriting opportunities and the need for fresh inspiration.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”
— Shakespeare

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
— Margaret Atwood

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
— Jack Kerouac

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
— Samuel Johnson

No matter your writing muse, communicating your message in a compelling way with a limited number of characters ideal for social media is hard. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, your creativity and your vocabulary. It’s also an opportunity to increase reach, leads, and revenue for your business.

When I feel myself hitting a roadblock, I bring myself back to four pillars I’ve found effective for Facebook ad copywriting:

  • Timeliness
  • Humanizing
  • Emojis
  • Wordplay

Below we’ll share and comment on these four strategies. Under each strategy the first two ads will examples will been written by Tuff and the third example will be another company we think has practiced this strategy well.

Timeliness

Timeliness is an awesome tool for Facebook ad copywriting. Being able to take advantage of the excitement and hype surrounding a big or seasonal event can go a long way. It also shows your audience that your ads and content aren’t on a set and repeat schedule, your aware of what is going on in their world and following along as well.

Here, we capitalized on the Madness of March.

 

With Valentine’s Day coming up before this ad, we were communicating the value of Xendoo — it saves you time.

 

Example: We like how Penguin Books makes you feel all the fall feels.

 

Humanizing

This year Facebook, as a company, has been making a number of changes to incentivize interactions and engagement. They’ve been noticing trends of users being quite passive on Facebook, mostly scrolling throughout content without interacting with it. So, rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook will favor the content that sparks conversations and brings people together. One way we like to try and attempt this is through humanizing brands and ads by using photos of real people and customers rather than graphics and illustrations of people. The second way we practice this is through using real names, locations, and jobs in ads.

Instead of a picture of the meal, we used a photo of a person this audience might relate to.

By using “Sally” and “Philly”, we built a character similar to the target audience.

Outside Example: We love the photo 17hats uses here. It shows they know who their audience is.

Emojis

We love emojis! In some A/B tests we’ve also seen them performing quite a bit better than there emoji-less counterparts. With the right brand, they make a lot of sense. Depending on the demographic, including emojis likens the ads to the text messages and Facebook comments with their personal network. We especially like to use emojis as bullet points, like in the 2nd and 3rd example here. It turns Facebook ad copywriting in emoji-writing.

Wordplay

It can be easy to tune Facebook ads out. But, when the copy makes the reader think, laugh, or challenges them with a pun, it can create willingness for deeper engagement. If you need an assist, this Pun Generator can help get the juices flowing!

Divine Spaces is a marketplace focused on unique event rentals. “Open your doors” applies to both the literal and metaphorical doors.

Readers likely aren’t used to fill in the blank type ads. We were hoping to surprise them here.

Over to you…

What Facebook ad copywriting strategies do you use for Facebook ads? Send us a note and let us know.

If you’re feeling stuck writing Facebook copy, challenge yourself to write four different ads practicing: timeliness, humanizing your brand, emojis, and wordplay. Then, pick your favorite out of the four.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.