Were you too busy this September to read our digital marketing articles? Not a problem! We’ve put together brief summaries of each informative article that you can check out. If a post interests you, simply click on its title to read the full-length version!
Throughout September, we covered:
Let’s take a look…
Instagram and Facebook now offer a new platform feature called Shop. Barely a year old, Shop is an eCommerce feature that enables your visitors to purchase your merchandise directly from your social profiles. Yes, by utilizing Shop, your Facebook profile is transformed into an eCommerce store unto itself, likewise your Instagram profile.
This article was a step-by-step how-to guide for setting up a Shop on Facebook. We chose to focus on setting up a Facebook Shop because it will easily link to Instagram, enabling you to sell on both platforms.
There were five major sections to the how-to guide, which covered the Facebook Shop itself, setting up Commerce Manager, importing your catalog of inventory items, selecting payment method options, and finally defining your shipping standards.
Your Facebook marketing strategies have the power to either grow your brand quickly or waste your time. You don’t want to be pouring your time and energy into using marketing strategies on Facebook that are destined to fail, which means that your top priority should be to research the strategies that will work and avoid the ones that won’t.
In no particular order, here are the biggest don’ts:
● Don’t buy Facebook “likes”
● Don’t constantly push your products or services
● Don’t use too many hashtags in your posts
● Don’t use click bait headings
● Don’t argue with customers, followers, and visitors in public
And here are the do’s:
● Do use your website to promote your Facebook page
● Do broadcast branded messages using Facebook Live
● Do respond quickly to Facebook comments and DMs
● Do post compelling content to start conversations
● Do share articles and other relevant information your followers will appreciate
In this article, we went on to define the different Facebook Business Manager administrative roles that you can assign to your employees and laid out five key marketing areas to be mindful of as you create, schedule, and manage your Facebook marketing, so be sure to read the full article when you can.
Automation is the process of replacing manual, human tasks with technologies. Setting up an online auto-debit to pay for a monthly bill is an example of automation. Instead of having to remember to pay that particular bill every month and going through the online process of electronically submitting a payment, you instead set up an auto-debit, and the online banking platform will handle the work of paying the bill on time every month.
Your marketing tasks can also be automated to save you time and effort, and reduce human errors. Marketing automation is defined as any technology that manages the digital marketing processes you ordinarily handle by hand. Marketing automation utilizes artificial intelligence to a degree, as well as machine-learning strategies, and can streamline multifunctional, omni-channel campaigns for you.
Any online platform that offers marketing automation in the form of Software as a Service, or SaaS, is considered a marketing automation platform. These platforms provide marketers with the tools to upload, organize, and schedule all of their digital marketing content and campaigns, including automating social media posts, blog article posts, and email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation platforms also integrate with content management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) software to centralize all marketing into one software solution.
To learn more, check out the full article that goes into detail about social media automation, email automation, and other forms of marketing automation that can make your life easier.
The subject lines of your emails can either make or break the open rates of your email marketing campaigns. Creative subject lines influence recipients to open, read, and act on CTAs, all of which you want!
In this article, we laid out 8 tips for creating the best email subject lines, and also broke down how you can put our tips into practice, so be sure to read the full article if you need hands-on ideas. Otherwise, here are 8 types of email subject lines you can use to increase the open rates of your campaigns:
● The “how to” subject line
● The “mysterious” subject line
● The “scarcity” subject line
● The “countdown” subject line
● The “personalized” subject line
● The “emoji” subject line
● The “promotional” subject line
● The “follow up” subject line
Implementing the right digital marketing strategy can effectively increase the number of shoppers who visit your website as well as increase the number of sales transactions that occur daily. There are a handful of digital marketing strategies that will deliver powerful results regardless of your industry or market, which was the focus of our fifth September article.
Here are the five marketing tips and ideas that we covered to help eCommerce sites drive website traffic, turn visitors into customers, and increase revenue.
Your eCommerce website visitors will not be able to touch, examine, or handle the products you’re selling, which is why the visuals you provide on your site are so important. Instead of merely using a few product photos, include many high-res photos and a zoom-in function that visitors can use to examine the product in question.
Your eCommerce site should have built-in features that enable shoppers to create their own secure accounts. These accounts should also have a Wish List feature that shoppers can use to “save” items to their Wish Lists. You can design personalized email marketing campaigns to remind customers about their Wish List items.
User-generated content is any digital content that is created by users, consumers, and “regular people” and not by a company or brand. User-generated content that features your products or services is a form of word-of-mouth marketing. When business owners like you recycle user-generated content on their own platforms, it has the same effect. UGC tends to resonate with consumers.
ECommerce retailers should set up Shops on both their Facebook and Instagram social platforms. The marketing possibilities that will result from having an Instagram and Facebook Shop are endless. Once your Shop is functioning, you can tag specific Shop items within your social posts, Stories, and even in the description boxes of your Facebook Live broadcasts.
Our final marketing tip will help consumers emotionally connect with your brand, which is necessary if you want to gain and retain loyal eCommerce customers. Feature your company’s values in your marketing campaigns. In other words, we recommend that, first and foremost, you advertise what you stand for. Once you convey to your audience your brand’s ethos, then you can suggest relevant products that they might be interested in buying.
Effective content marketing campaigns have the power to increase SEO ranking as well as web traffic and convert visitors into customers. But what makes a content marketing campaign “effective”?
The fact of the matter is that no two businesses are completely the same, which means you aren’t going to find a one-size-fits all solution. Your content marketing strategy will need to be as unique as your brand, and speak to your unique audience.
To help you to define your audience and leverage their interests, here are the 5 content marketing tactics we covered in our sixth September article:
● Create brand buyer personas
● Launch multiple, targeted landing pages
● Segment your email recipient list
● Use adaptive content
● Curate content from other websites
The restaurant industry is chock-full of competition. In order to stand out and succeed, restaurateurs must provide diners with delicious meals and impeccable service, and that’s not all. Restaurants must also provide diners with convenience, community, and conversation. In other words, today’s diners expect to have an excellent experience, from the moment they decide to dine at your restaurant to the moment they sign the bill, and beyond.
For this reason, we dedicated one of our September articles to helping restaurants market their menus and locations to local diners. Here’s what you missed:
Mobile apps spell convenience, plain and simple. Does your restaurant offer customers a mobile app with ordering and payment options? This is not to be confused with a responsive web design that functions smoothly on smartphones, though it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your site is responsive. If you haven’t launched a mobile app for your restaurant, consider investing in a white-label app.
Successfully marketing your restaurant can be tricky due to the fact that you’re not aiming to target a nationwide or worldwide audience. Quite the opposite, in fact, your goal as a restaurateur is to draw a local crowd of customers to your business. Using the hashtag #foodie on Instagram and maintaining a recipe blog are actually not going to cut it. Instead, focus your marketing locally by enhancing your Google My Business page.
Customer loyalty rewards programs have long since been proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies for increasing customer retention and boosting sales. For restaurants, loyalty programs can be especially beneficial because they incentivize diners to try new menu items, increase order sizes, and return more frequently. You’ll want to choose a loyalty platform that comes with a mobile app and integrates with your online ordering system.
It’s almost as though certain social media platforms were made for restaurant marketing. They say that experiencing a tasty meal begins with drinking in the sight of the food. You can give your diners a virtual taste of all that your restaurant has to offer by posting high quality photos of your dishes on Instagram and Facebook. An even better marketing idea is to include videos on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and YouTube that feature your chefs and cooks preparing your most popular meal items.
Consumers rely on customer reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. Unlike other types of businesses, restaurants face extreme challenges because they must provide excellent food and outstanding service. A perky waitress is not going to make up for a bland dish, for example, which means that one subpar aspect of a customer’s dining experience can lead to a low-star review. Restaurants are held to such a high standard, in fact, that you would be remiss to overlook the importance of online reputation management and marketing. Even if you receive a poor customer review, there’s a lot you can do to correct it both publicly and privately.
Our final September article covered how to create the type of CTAs that users can’t help but click.
Call to action buttons can be found in every type of digital marketing campaign, including email campaigns, PPC ads, social media marketing campaigns, and even SMS text campaigns. In indirect forms of digital marketing, like blogs, you will also find CTAs such as invitations to leave comments below a blog article and social media posts that ask followers to “like, share, and follow.”
Common examples of CTAs include:
● Sign Up
● Learn More
● Get Started
But nothing we do here at FTx 360 is “common.” So, here are creative CTAs you can use in your next digital marketing campaign:
You can use a Free Trial CTA on your website landing page, in a paid social media advertisement, or anywhere in-between. But you’ll first need to decide whether the free trial should be for 30 days or 14 days. It’s also a good idea to include a feedback survey towards the end of the free trial period.
When you state the greatest benefit of your product or service, your call to action will be all the more powerful. This type of CTA—the “Obvious Benefit” CTA—can be used to make a strong argument to consumers. For example, consumers might not automatically know that your product ordinarily costs thousands of dollars. By including the regular retail value as part of your CTA strategy, you can effectively convince people to buy the item at its current discounted price.
Social Proof CTAs are all about proving how popular your brand, products, and services already are in order to convince consumers that they should give your business a try. In order to pull off using social proof in your CTAs, you’ll first have to gather data about your brand. Ask yourself, what can you brag about? It should come as no surprise that Social Proof CTAs work really well on social media. Try building a positive customer review into your Instagram CTA, or include the latest industry award your brand received in your next Facebook lead generation CTA.
That concludes all of the articles you missed this month. If you’d like to learn more about what FTx 360’s digital marketing services can do for your business, contact us to speak with a marketing specialist who knows your industry.
Convenience is everything to consumers these days. Just as in-store retail shoppers would be seriously annoyed if cashiers told them to visit the retailer’s eCommerce site in order to buy all the items in their carts, today’s consumers do not want to leave the social media platforms they’re scrolling through in order to buy the amazing merchandise they’re looking at.
Are you featuring merchandise on your Instagram profile? If so, it’s because you want visitors to buy those items. Trust us, your visitors definitely want to have fast access to purchase the items you post on social, and we’re here to say that redirecting your Facebook and Instagram visitors to your eCommerce site is not going to make your visitors happy.
Instagram and Facebook now offer a new platform feature called Shop. Barely a year old, Shop is an eCommerce feature that enables your visitors to purchase your merchandise directly from your social profiles. Yes, by utilizing Shop, your Facebook profile is transformed into an eCommerce store unto itself, likewise your Instagram profile.
And the best part is that because Instagram and Facebook are connected, you only have to set up one Shop within Facebook (or Instagram) and you’ll be able to sell your goods on both platforms.
Consider this article your step-by-step how-to guide for setting up a Shop on Facebook, which will enable you to sell your goods on both platforms. And yes, we are going to focus on setting up your Facebook Shop which will link to Instagram, enabling you to sell on both platforms.
Let’s get started.
In order to set up your Shops through Facebook, you will need to have a Facebook Business Manager account. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Turning your regular Facebook account into a Business Manager account is as easy as clicking a few buttons. Simply log in to Facebook, navigate to your Facebook page, and click the Edit Page button at the top right of the page.
Next, click on the Basic Information tab, which you’ll find at the left-hand side of the toolbar that appears across the top of your screen. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Category, select Local Businesses and Places, and when another drop-down menu appears, select the Type of Business that best describes your page. Save your changes.
Once your Business Manager account has been created following the steps we just covered, you will be ready to start building your Facebook & Instagram Shop via the Facebook Business Manager.
● Log in to Facebook Business Manager
● In the upper-left corner, click the horizontal bars icon
● Click Shortcuts
● A drop-down menu will appear, scroll down until you see Commerce Manager
● Click Commerce Manager
● Click Get Started
You will be presented with two options:
● Manage with Commerce Manager
● Sync & Manage with a Partner
You will have to choose one or the other.
If you already have an eCommerce platform, Shopify store, or similar, then select “Sync & Manage with a Partner.” If not, then choose “Commerce Manager.”
Commerce Manager is a great option for retailers who don’t have a pre-existing eCommerce site and aren’t prepared to create one just for the sake of selling goods on social media. You do not need any expertise to set up your Shop via Commerce Manager within Facebook Business Manager.
Commerce Manager is also an ideal option for businesses that primarily sell services, but want to attract new customers on social media by offering select merchandise. For example, SaaS businesses might use Instagram & Facebook Shops to sell computer cases, cell phone cases, electronic & hardware accessories, and swag, not because retailing those items is their core purpose, but because their social media profiles and posts contain critical information about the software they sell as a service. By magnetizing visitors to their page via Shop, their visitors will learn about their core SaaS business and hopefully become interested in purchasing Saas through their business website.
● Click Manage with Commerce Manager
● Click Next
You will see three options, which are:
● Checkout on Another Website
● Checkout with Facebook or Instagram
● Checkout with Messaging
The option to Checkout on Another Website is as literal as it gets. This option will enable your social shoppers to purchase your goods on another website such as Etsy or another platform that does not have a partner integration with Facebook & Instagram. We actually do not recommend this option since it will cause your social visitors to navigate away from Facebook and Instagram.
Checkout with Facebook or Instagram is the option to choose if you want to be able to sell immediately on these platforms.
The final option, Checkout with Messaging, enables your social visitors to purchase through the IM / DM messaging features of Facebook and Instagram. Pretty cool! This option, however, is limited, so we don’t recommend that you go this route during the set-up process. That being said, once you set up your Shop, your social visitors will still have the option to purchase via messenger!
● Click Checkout with Facebook or Instagram
● Click Next
The set-up manager will ask you where do you want to sell from?
● Choose Ad Account from Business Manager
● Click Continue
You will then be presented with a page that says, Setting Up a Test Account.
There are three primary steps to this process:
● Entering your business information
● Setting up your inventory and shipping preferences
● Setting up your bank account where purchase payments will be deposited
In the next section, we will walk you through all three steps.
Entering in your business information is a straightforward process. Once you’ve entered this information, it’s time to start entering your merchandise inventory. Here you will either create an inventory catalog or link Facebook to your pre-standing inventory catalog if you have one. This step is very easy to do if you already have a Shopify store.
If you don’t have a Shopify store or another eStore that has partnered with Facebook & Instagram, then you can manually enter each inventory item, along with all the pertinent information for each item including photos, descriptions, and prices. This could take some time so be sure to plan ahead.
Once all of your inventory items are entered and saved, click Next, and fill out the Shipping Options prompts. You can set up Standard Shipping, Expedited Shipping, and Rush Shipping. Even though you can always change these later from the Commerce Manager, try to fill out as much information as possible during this step.
That being said, we want to emphasize how important this step really is. Right now, Facebook & Instagram places massive importance on retailers’ shipping capabilities. So much so, in fact, that if and when you launch a Facebook & Instagram ad campaign, the bidding and ad placement process will factor in your shipping capabilities. Shipping directly impacts customer satisfaction so you must be completely honest when filling out the shipping section of your Shop. For example, if you cannot live up to Rush Shipping, then do not include it as a shipping option for your Shop customers.
For all of the shipping options that you are confident you can live up to, click the Edit icon to the right of the option and fill out the information, which includes Estimated Days to Delivery, Price, Price Per Additional Items, and Cart Minimum for Free Shipping.
Pay particular attention to the Estimated Days to Delivery field. As we mentioned, you must be honest, but please be realistic, too. Do you project that it could take 20 days to ship an order? Facebook is not going to like that. You may need to reinforce your shipping department, hire who needs to be hired, and implement the best shipping operations as possible so that the “estimated days to delivery” that you’re capable of offering your customers will please Facebook as well as your shoppers. For the sake of full disclosure, 3 – 7 days for a delivery timeline is acceptable. Any shipments that take longer than that are not generally considered competitive, unless you’re using Drop Ship via a distributor or manufacturer. In that case, you need an even larger buffer. Remember, your customers would rather have a realistic estimate than a delivery promise you cannot fulfill.
The next Shipping Options field to fill out is the Price. Unlike Amazon and other eCommerce platforms that offer advanced intelligence and customized shipping cost estimations, Facebook Shop is not capable of this. Instead, you will have to plug in a fixed shipping cost that will be used to deliver all orders to any location. For example, if you plug in $10, you will collect $10 per order. If the order is 50 lbs and the destination is 3,000 miles away, you’re probably going to lose money. But if your goods tend to be light, such as 5 ounces, then shipping to a destination that’s clear across the US for $10 is reasonable.
The Price Per Additional Item should be reasonable, as well. Remember, profiting from the shipping costs you collect from your customers is a big no-no, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose money. Be careful when you calculate these figures, and be mindful that you will also need to calculate the Cart Minimum for Free Shipping. Will your customers need to purchase $50-worth of goods or $100-worth in order to receive free shipping? Do the math and try to get that figure as low as possible.
You will go through the same process and fill out the same fields for Expedited Shipping and Rush Shipping if you are able to offer those shipping options. If not, then do not select them. Once you’ve completed the Set Your Shipping Options page, click Next.
You do not need to draft a legally-binding return policy, because Facebook supplies one. However, you will need to plug in how many days a customer has to return an item. Thirty days is fairly standard for retail, so we recommend that you allow customers to return items for up to 30 days if they want a payment refund for their purchase. But the return policy time frame is really up to you. That being said, the information you supply here is extremely important and Facebook will penalize your future ads if you plug in an unreasonable time frame, such as stating that customers only have 5 days to return items. Finally, enter in the Customer Service Email address that visitors and customers can use to contact you, and click Save.
You will be redirected to the Setting Up a Test Account page where you must now fill out the 3rd and final section of your Shop—Payouts. This section is as straightforward as it gets. Simply enter in all of your banking information, business information, and tax information, and click Save.
Once you’ve completed those sections of entering your business information, setting up your inventory and shipping preferences, and setting up your bank account where purchase payments will be deposited, you can then begin to focus on your product catalog.
As we mentioned earlier, you can either link to Shopify or another partnered eCommerce online platform or enter your products manually. But the set-up manager will walk you through this.
● Click Catalog
● Click Items
Here you will have three options:
● Add Manually
● Use Bulk Upload
● Use a Pixel
The next section of this how-to article will focus on the process to Add Manually.
● Click Add Manually
You will see a form with blank fields and upload boxes where you can enter in product information, photos, descriptions, and prices. Pay particular attention to the Content ID fields. If your catalog is relatively large or if you’re pulling your catalog in through Shopify, you may need to include a Content ID per item in your Facebook Shop. In this case, the Content IDs will be your SKU codes or UPCs. That being said, entering Content IDs is optional, so you can leave these fields blank if you prefer.
A cool aspect to be mindful of is that you can create an automatic discount that your visitors will see. Let us explain. The difference between the Sale Price and the Price fields will appear to your visitors as an item’s discount. For example, if you enter an item sale price of $50 and plug in $100 for the “price” of that item, then your product page will show a $50 discount. However, if you enter a Sale Price of $50 and leave the Price field blank, then the product page will only show one sale price with no discount. Depending on the sales you’re managing, you can adjust your products’ Sales Prices versus Prices.
There are more fields within each Product page, including Variations, which pertains to various sizes and / or colors of your products. If such variations apply to your products, then be sure to fill these out so that your visitors can see all of the item options that are available.
As you can probably tell, manually filling out a Product Page for every inventory item you have within your catalog will be a time consuming process. For this reason, we don’t recommend that you enter your items manually unless you do not have a product catalog ready to import.
You can also Activate & Deactivate inventory items and set your on-hand inventory quantities.
This is the really fun part, and best of all, designing the look of your Facebook & Instagram storefronts won’t be time consuming since the Shop platform has highly limited options. That being said, by adjusting and modifying the stylistic options that are available to you, you will be able to present your unique brand to your social visitors in the right light.
On the left-hand side of your Facebook Shop screen, under Catalog, you will see an icon for Shops.
● Click Shops
You will be able to start setting up your storefront.
Once the Shops page loads, you will see your Facebook account as a visitor. Based on what you see, you can enter additional information and change the design layout and features to your liking, though there aren’t that many variables to toy with.
● Click Style
You will be able to change the design colors and theme colors of your Shop to suit your unique brand, including the color of the links and buttons that appear and the text content, font, and alignment. You can also use Tiles to spruce up the exact layout of your Shop. You can also group your items into Collections for an even more stylized layout. Take your time and play around with the options until your Shop captures and presents your brand exactly how you want!
Why do we recommend that you create your Shop on Facebook and not Instagram? We’ve lived and learned, and therefore we strongly advise that you set up your Shop within Facebook, as opposed to setting up your Shop from Instagram. Though these two platforms are conjoined thanks to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram a number of years back, the Shop set-up process differs between the two. In our collective experience, the Facebook Shop set-up process and the functionality that subsequently results on both Facebook & Instagram is superior to that which is offered by Instagram.
Want the social media marketing experts at FTx 360 to set up and handle your Facebook & Instagram Shops? Our social media management team can have you up-and-running in no time! Contact us to learn about our rates and what FTx 360 can do for your business.
The digital marketing specialists at FTx 360 publish a lot of content each month in the form of blog articles. These articles are designed to help business owners like you implement effective digital marketing strategies that benefit their brands.
In case you missed them, the informative marketing articles we posted this month were:
You can click to read any of these full, original articles to learn in-depth information about the specific digital marketing topic listed above. Otherwise, check out the summaries of each article below.
Instagram has not stopped evolving since it was launched over a decade ago. Today, Instagram users can shop, video chat, watch IGTV channels, and engage with other users on the platform in countless ways. Businesses can advertise and interact with potential customers, all while building their brand and social media presence.
Instagram has launched many improvements throughout the first half of 2021, and more features are yet to arrive as summer turns to autumn later this year. There are upwards of twenty Instagram updates, upgrades, improvements, and new feature launches to watch out for in 2021—far too many to cover in one article. So, we focused our first August article on the following five new Instagram features that are most relevant to your business account:
● Messenger API Update
● Professional Dashboard
● Option to Hide “Likes”
● Suggested Posts
● Interactive Stickers for Stories
This back-to-school season, retailers like you want to deliver a marketing campaign that actually resonates with consumers. Your current customers, as well as potential ones, aren’t interested in hearing about your products and services unless your campaign messages speak to them personally and address their wants, needs, interests, and pain points.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to place your products and services in the background of your ads, this adjustment will help you convert consumers into paying customers. Your promotional content and messages should focus on personalization with the aim of conveying relevant offers that speak to the unique needs of each shopper.
With that in mind, try one, some, or all of these back-to-school campaign ideas:
● Email Marketing Campaigns
● Google Pay-Per-Click Ad Campaigns
● Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns
● SMS Text Message Marketing Campaigns
● Responsive Web Design Landing Page Campaigns
● Referral Code Campaigns
Integrating social media into your business strategy will afford your brand countless benefits, including helping you to spread brand awareness, expand your customer base, encourage online engagement with your brand, and increase the virality of your business.
Social media is such a powerful tool for business growth, in fact, that you don’t have to use every platform under the sun. Simply maintaining accounts on one or two social platforms will be enough to support your business needs and social media goals.
But how can you specifically utilize social media for your business? In our third August article, we suggested the following strategies:
● Schedule Organic Posts on Social
● Provide Customer Service Options on Social
● Run Sponsored Content on Social
● Cross-Promote Your Social Media Accounts
● Alter Your Social Content for Different Platforms
If you run a pet company, you understand that the love pet parents have for their furry friends is boundless. Pet parents delight in doting on their dogs and cats, taking photos of their pets, and connecting with other pet lovers online.
You can also connect with pet lovers online, boost your brand, and build your customer base, which is what this FTx 360 article was all about. To summarize, here are the best marketing strategies for pet companies that you can start using today:
● Create Educational Posts About Products
● Make Sure Posts Sound Personal and Not Promotional
● Ask Customers to Leave Reviews on Facebook
● Create Carousel Posts to Increase Viewing Time
● Launch a “Caption This!” Challenge to Boost Engagement
● Use “Insta Grid” as Tiles to Create a Bigger Picture
● Use Branded, Trending, and Location-Based Hashtags
● Encourage ReTweeting to Get the Word Out
● Tweet Photos of Adorable, Adoptable Dogs
● Create Grooming How-To Videos Featuring Your Customers’ Pets
● Use “Before & Afters” in Your Pet Care Tutorials
● Feature a Series on How To Register Pets as Service Dogs & Emotional Support Animals
● Cover Relevant Health Topics & Common Pet Health Issues
● Publish Articles Featuring Your Customers’ Pets
● Include a Newsletter Subscription Sign-Up Button
Customer experiences culminate in either satisfaction or disappointment. The result that ultimately follows is either increased business revenue or dismal eCommerce sales. Customer experience, or CX, is that critical.
You want your customers to have positive experiences when engaging with your brand online, but you might not necessarily understand what eCommerce elements will contribute to providing your website visitors with such an excellent customer experience that they successfully complete the online checkout process.
In this original article, we supplied in-depth steps and went into detail about the following five strategies you can implement to improve your eCommerce site’s customer experience.
● Offer Personalized Website Navigation
● Provide Customized Browsing Experiences
● Feature Customer Reviews & Testimonials
● Enhance the Checkout Process
● Build Brand Affinity with Valuable Content
There’s no alternative to getting serious about professionally marketing your business online, but what if you have no idea where to start?
Should you hire an in-house marketing team? Should you outsource your digital marketing to an agency? Most importantly, what is it really going to cost to launch digital marketing campaigns that successfully expand your customer base, retain loyal customers, build brand presence, increase revenue, and ultimately deliver a worthwhile return on investment?
If these critical questions have crossed your mind, then you’ve come to the right place.
In the full article, we went over how you can plan a marketing budget that will work for your brand. We strongly suggest you check out the original blog post if you want to specifically learn about:
● Why You Need a Marketing Budget
● How To Plan Your Marketing Budget
● Specific Digital Marketing Campaigns to Fund
● The Benefits of Hiring In-house Marketers ss. Working with a Marketing Agency
● How to Determine Your Overall Marketing Budget
A/B Testing, also called Split Testing, is a digital marketing method that uses two different versions of a single campaign to determine which content version performs better in terms of increasing social engagement and improving conversion rates online.
One version of the campaign content, called the A group, is the “control,” and the other version of the campaign content represents the B group, which contains the variation content. Testing different campaign content in this manner can inform a marketer like you which campaign version we should focus on and invest our marketing budget in.
In the world of digital marketing, the desired result is usually conversion, whether it be converting website visitors to newsletter subscribers, newsletter recipients to monthly subscription customers, or monthly subscription customers to brand ambassadors who use word-of-mouth marketing to successfully refer their friends and family to sign up for monthly subscription packages. You get the idea.
The use of A / B Testing can help you achieve tangible business goals, such as:
● Increasing Website Traffic
● Increasing Conversion Rates
● Lowering Bounce Rates
● Lowering Cart Abandonment
Our full article went over the steps you can follow if you want to ensure the best A / B Test results. To summarize, those steps are:
● Identify the Problem
● Identify Your Goal
● Pick One Variable to Test
● Create the Control Campaign (Test A) and the Challenger Campaign (Test B)
● Split Your Sample Groups Equally & Randomly
● Monitor the Results Throughout the Test But Do Not Alter Anything
One of the most powerful marketing tools you have is your website. Whether you have a B2B website, a B2C eCommerce site, or an SaaS platform that’s meant to target both B2B and B2C consumer groups, your website should be designed to pull in web traffic and keep visitors engaged long enough to do business with you.
Older, outdated websites simply won’t serve your digital marketing needs, and you’re probably aware of that. But what you might not be aware of is that your website could be outdated even if it isn’t that old.
In our final August article, we laid out how you can determine whether or not your website is up to date, and we also included the measures you can take right now to update your website if you determine that it’s outdated. But in summary, here’s what your business website or eCommerce site must include in order for it to be considered up to date by today’s standards:
● A Responsive Web Design
● A Call to Action On Every Web Page
● Fast Website Speed & Easy Site Usability
● Social Media Integration
● An Active Blog
Are you interested in partnering with a digital marketing agency? FTx 360 offers a wide array of digital marketing services at affordable costs. Whether you need web design & development, eCommerce marketing services, social media marketing, content marketing, blog articles and blog management, organic and local SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, PPC marketing, or reputation management—we do it all and love every minute of it! Contact us to learn more about what FTx 360 can do for your business and brand!
Instagram has had quite an evolution. Just two short years after launching in 2010, the photo-sharing app was acquired by Facebook for a sum of money that shocked the then-burgeoning social media industry—$1 billion. While the price tag seemed jaw-droppingly high at the time, Mark Zuckerberg had no choice but to make Instagram’s founder, Kevin Systrom, an offer he couldn’t refuse or else Facebook would’ve seen a nosedive in users, engagement, and revenue. Yes, Instagram was that big of a threat.
The acquisition occurred right around the time that other social media platforms were launching and rising in popularity. Platforms such as Vine, Snapchat, and Periscope each brought unique features to the market, which pushed Instagram to update and enhance its photo capturing features as well as add additional features that diversified its engagement capabilities.
“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app. The number one reason people say that they use Instagram, in research, is to be entertained.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
In a lot of ways, Instagram has not stopped evolving since it was launched over a decade ago. Today, Instagram users can shop, video chat, watch IGTV channels, and engage with other users on the platform in countless ways. Businesses can advertise and interact with potential customers, all while building their brand and social media presence.
Instagram has launched many improvements throughout the first half of 2021, and more features are yet to arrive as summer turns to autumn later this year. Here are the new Instagram features and how you can make them work for you.
There are upwards of twenty Instagram updates, upgrades, improvements, and new feature launches to watch out for in 2021—far too many to cover in one article. So, we decided to focus this section on five new Instagram features that are most relevant to your business account.
Since its inception, Instagram has been an in-app platform, exclusively. Unlike Facebook, which allows users full access to their platform via desktop and laptop computers, Instagram made it virtually impossible to comfortably navigate, upload posts, comment, and DM via computer. Though users could sign in to Instagram on their computers to search hashtags and view profiles, the platform intentionally disincentivized this option. Well, all that has changed. As of the middle of last year, Instagram has upgraded its desktop features so that users can DM. The messenger API update that Instagram used to accomplish this also allows users to DM multimedia files such as photos, images, gifs, pictures, and other kinds of media, as well as start group chats. Even more exciting is the DM messenger interface, which offers better organization and an ability to access and manage your DM conversations across account profiles so long as they’re integrated. There are a few caveats, however. Messenger API for Instagram will have a staggered rollout as follows:
● Starting June, only IG business accounts that have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers will have access to this new Messenger API.
● Starting July, this new Messenger API will be available for business accounts with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers.
● Finally, by the end of the third quarter, 2021, all business IG accounts will have access to Messenger API.
Though Instagram has offered business accounts for years, only at the beginning of 2021 did they launch their Professional Dashboard, a new organizational tab for Instagram’s business account users. The purpose of Professional Dashboard is to consolidate other business account features in one place—features such as Badges, Instagram Shop, Checkout, and Branded Content. By consolidating these tools and resources into one central hub, Instagram hopes to better assist businesses to reach their marketing goals. There are three key features of Professional Dashboard that will help you stay organized and productive:
● Performance Tracking: this feature allows business account users the ability to analyze trends and study engagement insights, among other critical metrics.
● Business Growth: this feature helps business account users discover new marketing tools that will help them run their accounts more efficiently to build up their businesses. Most importantly, this feature allows users to check the monetization status of their ad campaigns.
● Stay Informed: this feature shows business account users personalized, curated, educational resources that will help them promote their businesses on Instagram. These resources include tips, tricks, guidance, and inspiration.
Shocker of all shockers—recently, Instagram initiated the option to hide “likes” so that they aren’t displayed! Why would a user want to hide the number of likes their post has? The answer is complicated. Psychologically, social media has done a number on all of us, especially young people. Research has proven that these platforms are physiologically addictive and impact the mental health of users. Users often experience a “high” when their posts receive a ton of engagement such as likes, comments, and shares. That’s all fine and dandy, but unfortunately, when users experience low engagement with their posts, it actually affects their mood, making them feel low, disappointed, and dejected. Instagram, and its parent company, Facebook, have decided to give users the option to hide the number of likes their posts have so that other users can’t see. Time will tell if this new feature positively improves user experience.
This feature isn’t too new. Suggested Posts actually launched in the middle of last year, but it’s still catching on, so we wanted to mention it. The purpose of Suggested Posts is to expose Instagram users to other user accounts, both business and personal, that they might enjoy. Suggested Posts only appear once a user has finished scrolling through the most recent posts of the accounts they follow in their feed. The actual posts of other users that are suggested will be relevant to the user’s personal preferences and interests. Instagram’s machine learning A.I. uses an algorithm to determine what a user likes based on the other accounts they follow and posts they “like.” At the moment, Instagram is still playing around with this feature and compiling user feedback. Due to the fact that there is no current way to turn this feature off, many users have complained that Suggested Posts are intrusive and at times infuriating. Have you encountered Suggested Posts? What do you think? The general consensus at FTx 360 is that they seem to be the “personal account” version of straightforward Instagram advertising. Meaning that we’re keeping our eye on them.
Interactive stickers for Instagram stories is easily our favorite new feature! The concept of story stickers emerged a few years ago, but in the last few months, Instagram has really leveled up its sticker game by adding brand new story stickers that provide far better interactive user experiences. If you’re unfamiliar, the purpose of story stickers is to add clickable links to your posts. In essence, these stickers serve as in-app CTAs, which can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Right now, the most popular stickers available on Instagram are Location, @Mention, #Hashtag, Donation, Music, Poll, Questions, Challenge, DM Me, Countdown, Quiz, Stay Home, Food Orders, Gift Cards, and Support Small Business. Let’s look at the story stickers that can best support your business’s Instagram marketing efforts:
● DM Me sticker: Instagram launched this new story sticker to help users DM business accounts easily and promote messaging interaction. By altering the DM Me text to state “Get More Info,” this particular sticker can become a powerful CTA that drives private discussions about products and services that could lead to sales.
● Food Orders sticker: if you own a restaurant, coffee shop, or quick-serve business, this story sticker is for you. The Food Orders sticker enables users to tap the sticker and get redirected immediately to your business’s online ordering platform. Connecting with popular food delivery service platforms such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash is possible with this sticker.
● Support Small Business sticker: this story sticker is excellent for businesses that want to partner with other non-competing businesses and cross-promote each other’s products and services. With the Support Small Business sticker, you can tag the business you’ve partnered with, which will introduce your visitors to the other business, and vice versa. By tapping the sticker, visitors will be redirected to your partner’s IG account or website, depending.
In addition to the Big Five that we covered in our last section, there are thirteen additional features to be aware of, which will be the focus of this section. These features affect both business and personal accounts.
At long last, Instagram offers in-app eCommerce solutions for business accounts. This Shop feature has to be accessed through your Facebook business account, however, since the platforms are married.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have several Instagram accounts that appear under a larger umbrella company. Previously, there was no way to post the same content across multiple accounts, but now there is. This feature is a bona fide time saver.
Featuring user-generated content has become a highly effective social media marketing strategy, but efficiently “sharing” and “reposting” user-generated content hasn’t always been so easy on Instagram when it comes to stories. Instagram improved this by creating notifications for business account handles that users “tag” in their stories. If you’re tagged in a story, a notification will appear in your account.
In their effort to save businesses even more time, Instagram now offers Create Mode—a way to create, save, and reuse story templates. If you’re in the habit of including stickers, text, and a lot of bells and whistles in your story posts, this Create Mode template feature will save you a ton of time in the long run.
“Have you ever wanted to turn off your video or audio when you’re Live? Now you can. Hopefully, this gives you more flexibility and lessens any pressure to look or sound a certain way during a Live.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
Have you ever hosted an Instagram Live only to have your child, dog, or neighbor make an unwelcomed, albeit unintentional, intrusion? Even Live videos you record at the office can be suddenly sabotaged by the unexpected. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to quiet a mysterious noise or correct a visual issue while your entire virtual audience looks on. That’s why Instagram now offers an “Off” option, allowing users to easily and quickly turn off their video, audio, or both.
Instagram TV, or IGTV for short, offers long form video content (longer than 60 seconds). This content format has grown in popularity, which is why Instagram is now working to promote IGTV channels and episodes. Using organic reach, Instagram will include IGTV Previews as though they are regular posts. The only downside is that you will have no control over the preview content. Instead, Instagram will automatically play a 15-second clip from your IGTV episode as a preview.
Using the Instagram app can be a huge drain on cell phone battery life, which is why Instagram launched Dark Mode, a “dim” version of its content. The main difference is that Dark Mode features a black background, as opposed to the traditional white background.
Taking a cue from Google, Instagram now divides its Inbox into three tabs—Primary, General, and Requests. Messages from users you follow or who follow you will show up in the Primary tab, and the rest will appear in the Requests tab, which you can then manually move to either Primary or General.
We’re not sure how we feel about Instagram’s new “Suggested Unfollow” feature… Instagram will now suggest to users, not accounts they should follow, but rather current accounts that they should unfollow due to the fact that they haven’t been engaging with those accounts anyway. Generally speaking, the accounts that Instagram will suggest you “unfollow” will be the accounts in your “Least Interacted With” list.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to block a follower. Sad, but true. But what if you don’t want to completely cut your profile off from a follower? That’s where Remove Followers comes in handy, Instagram’s “soft block” feature. In your Followers list, you’ll now see Remove buttons next to each account name. Simply tap “remove” and the follower won’t be blocked from finding your account in the future, they just won’t see your posts anymore since they’re no longer following you.
Instagram Alt Text is a great new feature for business accounts that want to cater to their followers who are visually impaired. With Instagram Alt Text, you can compose shorter captions that will appear in large print font. As an added bonus, using Alt Text is another opportunity to plug in SEO keywords and hashtags that Instagram will pick up.
As an alternative to Remove Followers, Instagram now offers the new Restrict Accounts feature that enables users to disable a follower’s ability to comment on their posts. Originally, this feature was designed to fight online bullying, but it’s helpful for businesses, as well.
Depending on the nature of your business and the content of your social media account, it might be appropriate to prevent users who are under a certain age from accessing your posts. For example, vape retailers and CBD shops might want to restrict underage users from viewing their content. With the Age Limit feature, you can “hide” your profile from younger audiences by defining the “minimum age” setting within your account. Once a minimum age has been set, only users who meet the age minimum will have access to your profile, posts, and stories.
Instagram remains the most popular photo-sharing app, and yet this social media platform has evolved to become so much more. Instagram’s success and continued popularity are due in large part to its ability to adopt and mimic the successful features that competing social platforms offer.
At the moment, the social platform that’s giving Instagram the biggest run for its money is TikTok. TikTok is young, fun, and growing at a rate that has been making other social media platforms very nervous. Currently, TikTok has over 1 billion active users across the world, but why? What makes TikTok so appealing?
What makes TikTok unique is the app’s discovery feed, known as the “For You” page. This view serves as the user’s primary timeline, or feed, and it uses a special algorithm to populate the most optimal and personalized content for the user. The algorithm’s artificial intelligence uses machine learning to record, analyze, and leverage the specific posts that a user interacts with in order to show them highly relevant content that they’re likely to enjoy.
Unlike competing social media platforms that foster social networks and connections with people you know in real life, TikTok actually does the opposite by connecting users with content that’s generated outside of their social circles.
Why mention this?
TikTok is a bigger threat to Instagram right now than any other social media platform, and Instagram knows it. Over the course of the past year, Instagram users have begun to split their social media time between Instagram and TikTok, which has affected Instagram’s user engagement as well as its ad revenue.
What’s Instagram doing about it?
Instagram plans to study TikTok and adopt as many popular TikTok features as it can.
“The important thing is that people are seeing stories that resonate with them and are meaningful to them.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
Truth be told, Instagram isn’t suffering due to TikTok… yet. Instagram is still the #1 platform in conjunction with Facebook for effective advertising. In fact, posting regularly on Instagram for marketing purposes will gain you more followers and daily interactions than posting on TikTok at the moment… But we’re definitely watching both platforms closely.
As of writing this article, TikTok has upgraded its ads, making them personalized and also unavoidable. Meaning, users can no longer opt-out of seeing ads on the platform. This upgrade took place in April earlier this year, and the marketing specialists at FTx 360 are still tracking ad performance metrics to determine if advertising on TikTok will at some point rival placing targeted ads on Instagram.
If the scales tip in TikTok’s favor, we’ll let you know! In the meantime, Instagram is where it’s at for social media marketing if your content contains highly visual photos and videos.
FTx 360 provides social media marketing services that can help you get the most out of your social media presence, increase social engagement, build followers, and convert users and followers into website visitors and loyal customers. No matter how big or small your business is today, or what industry you’re in, our team of experienced digital marketers can increase social engagement for your brand on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms. Using paid advertisements, PPC Marketing, and social media marketing strategies, our marketers combine the power of hashtags, SEO, and geo-targeting to deliver results. Contact us to discover what FTx 360 can do for your brand.