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Want to Pivot? Read Your Small Business Boom

A simple guide for small business owners who want to pivot successfully.If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.When you hear the word “pivot“, what does it make you think? If you ask me, it makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. It’s one of these words small business gurus throw around as advice and something you should do without actually telling you exactly how you are supposed to do it.At least until now.My friend, Steve Strauss has just released a new business book “Your Small Business Boom: Explosive Ideas to Grow Your Business, Make More Money, and Thrive in a Volatile World” that should be titled “How to Pivot” because that’s really what it’s about.Meet Steven D. StraussYou can call him Steve. And don’t let the fact that he’s USA Today’s senior small business columnist and “America’s leading small business expert” make you think that he’s anything less than the most approachable guy in the room.He wrote “The Small Business Bible” and 16 other books that have been translated into eight languages. This is why you’ll often see Steve partnering with brands like Yahoo, PayPal, and Microsoft. His company, The Strauss Group creates cutting-edge content for everyone from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profits.On a personal note, the one thing I admire about Steve is his refusal to breathe that rarified air of small business celebrity. He continues to play on the court with small businesses and solopreneurs helping them solve practical problems. This is what “Small Business Boom” lays out in detail.If Someone Else Can Do It, So Can YouWhenever you pick up a business book, it’s important to understand the underlying philosophy or belief of the author. And Strauss believes very strongly that if someone has succeeded by doing these things — so can you.The question you have to ask yourself is — do you believe this as well?If you DO believe this, then you have a mindset that will benefit the most from this book.On the other hand, if you’ve had a bad experience with trying something where it didn’t work, you might find yourself giving the “I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work” excuse.If that sounds like you, my advice is to read this book critically. And, where you see a tactic that you think will work for you, focus on what it takes to be successful with this tactic.Let’s get started.What You’ll Learn in “Small Business Boom”“Small Business Boom” makes some bold promises along with examples of real small business owners:Create a tribe of fans, followers, and customersMake money while you sleepUse webinars, podcasts, live streaming, and funnels to make your business boom.Make social media work for you by going beyond likes.Have big clients with bigger budgets seek you out.These are all popular and emotional talking points that every business wants. The real question is how are you going to implement this in your business?Here’s how “Small Business Boom” Answers the “How” QuestionThe book is written in five parts:In Part One, Strauss gives you six chapters of very specific ways to pivot. By far, this is my favorite part of the book as it’s powerful and practical. Again, the way to get the most from this section is to take the time to reflect on how these might apply to your business and think it through.My advice is to make a shortlist of pivot ideas that you get from this section and then choose ONE that you most want to implement. This will help you get the most out of the other sections.Part Two of “Small Business Boom” is dedicated to making sure that your business is taking advantage of online and digital marketing. This section of the book gives you a 30,000-foot view of what it takes to achieve that bullet list of promises I mentioned above.You won’t find anything you haven’t seen before in this section. What you will get is a wonderful and complete overview of all the ingredients involved in delivering on the promise of 1 million hits.For those of you who have “tried” these strategies and gotten less than stellar results and are still feeling confused and frustrated, I’ll say that your issue is one of focus and choice. You simply won’t be able to do all of these things all at once. This is why I recommend choosing a single pivot strategy to play with. Then choose the tactics that are critical to making your pivot strategy successful.Part Three of the book focuses on solopreneurs and freelancers. Kudos to Strauss for not ignoring this segment like so many business books do. More than 90% of all small businesses in this country have zero employees and many business books overlook this group and force them to adapt strategies and tactics that work for larger businesses.In this section, Strauss lists the most popular sites where you’ll find projects and clients. Then, in the chapter titled “Millionnaire Solopreneur,” he provides just enough structure, examples, and information to help you focus your thinking and strategizing.Part Four is all about money, collaboration, and how to make other people’s money work for your business. You’ll love that it includes more than going to the bank, although that’s covered. As someone deathly afraid of “other people’s money” I would have appreciated some type of discussion or resource to help me decide which is best for me. For example, “Use credits cards if…” or “Crowdfunding is best for business that…”The last part of the book is about your business superpower; that special something that sets you apart. I was a little surprised that this chapter was last. I would have put it first. But this is where Strauss shows that he knows his audience. He recognizes that small business owners are more task-oriented and want tips first and thinking later. I admire that.Boom or Bust — It’s Up to YouStrauss covers all aspects of running a successful business by providing specific ways that entrepreneurs can grow their businesses as well as making more money through collaboration and leveraging innovative ideas.The real question is, do you believe that you can do it too.Image: amazon

7 Ways to Combat Rising Facebook CPMs Due to iOS 14

7 Ways to Combat Rising Facebook CPMs Due to iOS 14

As we knew it would, the release of Apple iOS 14 earlier this year has impacted Facebook advertising in a dramatic way. Now that a few months have passed and the dust has settled, I want to share with you something I’ve observed in my clients’ accounts: that CPMs are rising.

So in this post, I’m going to:

Tell you why your Facebook ad CPMs might be higher as a result of iOS 14.
Share seven tips to keep your CPMs low.
Provide additional resources for lowering additional Facebook ad costs.
Why is iOS 14 causing higher Facebook ad CPMs?

I have been managing Facebook ads for clients for a number of years now and in the months following the iOS14 update, I’ve noticed increasing CPMs.

The iOS14 update has caused CPMs to rise in many instances for a variety of reasons:

1. Audience sizes shrinking

The primary reason many advertisers are seeing this rise in cost is that as Apple iOS 14 allows users to opt out of tracking and 96% have chosen to do so.

With the pixel being unable to track users as effectively, Facebook can’t build sufficient-sized custom audiences like it used to.

Learn how to make the most of your privacy-first Facebook ad targeting here.

2. Increased competition

Due to the shrinking of many audiences, the real estate for which your ads enter an auction has become limited as well. This causes an increase in competition on a per-user basis, further raising costs to advertise on Facebook.

3. In-feed placements have more value

I also noticed that lead ad campaigns had a much more volatile reaction to iOS14 than their counterparts simply because of the types of placements this campaign type allows.

For example, here are the placement options for a lead ads campaign vs a conversions campaign:

As you can see, the additional placements available for the web conversions campaign objective allow you to spread your impressions across more (ultimately cheaper) places. This brings your average CPM down quite a bit because you aren’t solely focusing on in-feed placements. The unfortunate part of this is that typically it is the in-feed placements that convert at the highest rates and drive the most qualified leads.

7 tips to keep your Facebook CPMs down

So what do we do now? I have five tips to help you combat rising CPMs as a result of iOS 14.

1. Diversify your campaign strategy

As I have stated above, running multiple campaign types may be a good strategy to combat surface-level costs. However, this all really depends on the results you are seeing and the costs you are experiencing with your current budget and Facebook advertising strategy.

If at your current budget you are seeing lead ads work effectively from the top to the bottom of your sales/marketing funnel, then I would suggest continuing to run ads as you are.

But if you are seeing dramatic spikes in costs when attempting to scale your existing strategy, you may want to try setting up a full-funnel strategy using a variety of campaign objectives.

2. Broaden your audiences

One of the aspects of Facebook advertising that appeals most to marketers is the ability to refine and target specific segments of users. While you can still refine and target your audiences to a certain degree, ad sets that are going to deliver evergreen success at a reasonable cost are likely going to have to be a bit on the broader side. The smaller the audience, the higher the competition, the higher the competition, the higher the CPM.

3. Lower daily budget on the ad set level & introduce more audiences

An alternative strategy to broadening audiences would be to create several of them (as different from each other as possible to avoid overlap) and to spread your total daily budget across them all, as opposed to one or two.

Are you wasting any of your Facebook ads budget? Find out instantly with our Free Facebook Ads Performance Grader.

4. Enable all placements

Personally, the only Facebook ad placements that I advise clients against advertising on is the Audience Network. However, if your audience is refined or has a higher degree of intent (such as with a remarketing audience) then enabling automatic placements could benefit the surface level metrics of your campaign (at least in the CPM realm).

5. Implement Facebook’s Conversions API

The Facebook Conversions API allows you to track Facebook events using your server, which doesn’t require cookies and can therefore capture more data than the Facebook Pixel alone. With more complete and accurate conversion data, you can create stronger remarketing audiences, and since those will likely grow, this will lower CPMs. 

You can learn everything you need to know about Facebook Conversions API here.

6. Keep costs low elsewhere

In addition to the above tactics for keeping your CPMs down, you might also want to make sure you’re doing what you can to keep costs low in all areas of your Facebook ads account.

For more ways to save money in Facebook ads, check out the following:

7. Don’t give up on Facebook ads!

With the increased complexity of Facebook advertising, it’s easy to become frustrated and jaded. However, you may find that it is a great opportunity for you and your business to stay ahead of the competition.

If many advertisers give up on it but you don’t, you can be in a good position to get your brand out there, drive leads, and take advantage of a powerful platform that your competitors are not.

With this perspective, the hard work needed to ensure your ads are running and tracking properly will pay off in the end. As widespread of a hurdle that iOS14 has been, many are still thriving with Facebook Ads and will continue to do so through patience and dedication to their overall marketing objectives.

How to reduce your Facebook ads CPM [recap]

Diversify your campaign types.
Broaden your audiences.
Lower daily budget on the ad set level & introduce more audiences.
Enable all placements.
Implement Facebook Conversions API.
Keep costs low elsewhere
Don’t give up on Facebook ads!

Featured image source: DashThis