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6 Facebook Ad Strategies Working for Us Right Now (Post iOS Updates)

6 Facebook Ad Strategies Working for Us Right Now (Post iOS Updates)

A lot of advertisers feared the worst when news of Apple’s changes were made public… and for good reason. If you’ve seen a dip in the performance of your Facebook advertising campaigns, you’re not alone.

But are the days of advertising on Facebook over? Absolutely not. Like anything new, it’s a case of observing, learning, and adapting to the new world. In this article, I share six strategies we’ve found to drastically improve the performance of our client campaigns in a post-iOS14 world. They include:

Rebuild campaigns from scratch
Try interest stacking
Keep audience expansion on
Run on-platform retargeting campaigns
Use Facebook lead ads
Set up external tracking
First, take care of the account essentials

Let’s first make sure your account is set up to track and succeed with these strategies.

Verify your business

When you verify your business, Facebook will request a couple of legal documents to confirm your business is legitimate. This minimizes the risk of future ad banning—of course, also along with abiding by Facebook’s advertising guidelines).

Use Facebook’s verification instructions since these will be up to date, but as of this post, here’s how to do it through Business Manager:

Go to Security Center
Select Verification.

Verify your domain

Verifying your domain ensures that you’re able to track your ads effectively. It’s simply a case of uploading a small file (provided by Facebook) and adding it to your website’s header.

To verify your domain on Facebook:

Go to Business Manager and find Brand Safety >Domains.
Click add, and follow the instructions.

Set up Aggregated Event Management

You need to set up Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) or your ads won’t track properly. Facebook events indicate activity within your full-funnel strategy as the user moves towards your CTA. Events are things like:

Page view
View content
Add to Cart
Initiate Checkout
Purchase
For example, online shops might track: View content – > Add to Cart – > Initiate Checkout – > Purchase

In the past, it was possible to create an unlimited number of tracking events within a Facebook advertising account; now, they’ve limited it to eight. Most advertisers only track 1-5 events per campaign, so this shouldn’t create a significant obstacle. But if you do use lots of different tracking events, simply consolidate your events and use the same ones across various campaigns (learn more about this strategy here).

To set up aggregated event management:

Go to Events Manager
Click on the Aggregated Event Measurement tab
Click on Manage Events, and select your (now verified) domain
Click Manage Events
Add the Events you want to track across your campaign.
You’ll need to list your events by priority. If your campaign is about making sales, make sure that Purchase (for example) is the highest priority.

6 strategies to try if your Facebook ads are not performing post-iOS 14

Okay now that you have your account structured properly, let’s talk about some Facebook ad lead generation strategies that have been working for us, despite the challenges brought on after the iOS update.

1. Rebuild campaigns from scratch

If you’ve been advertising for some time, you’ve probably been able to get your campaigns to a point where you’re consistently seeing good results. You know the audiences and creatives that work, and Facebook has optimized for those.

But one of the most common pain points with iOS is that previously successful Facebook ad campaigns have stopped performing as well as they used to.

Disastrophe!

But it’s not the end of the world.

As with all major ad platform changes, it’s adapt or die. And we’ve found that rebuilding a campaign from scratch can work exceptionally well. Sure, it’s going to take you a little extra time to rebuild your campaign templates, but one of our clients experienced a 59% reduction in cost per lead after rebuilding a previously successful campaign.

2. Try interest stacking

Whizz back to pre-iOS14 when we used to do Facebook ad targeting by individual interest. This level of specificity was priceless, especially if you knew your audience. But it doesn’t work as well under the new regime.

For example, we used to create one ad set targeting a singular interest. So if we were looking to target marketers, we might target people who are interested in Buffer. Now, it’s more effective to go a little broader. Rather than just Buffer, you might add Hootsuite + Sprout Social + StreamYard, etc. all into the same audience.

Are your ads underperforming? Use our free Facebook Ads Performance Grader to make sure you’re plugging every leak in your spend.

3. Keep targeting expansion on

As mentioned above, going broader with your audience’s interests gives Facebook’s algorithm more to work with. So in addition to stacking interests, we also recommend locking Targeting Expansion to On.

One of the particularly tricky impacts of iOS14 is that it’s harder to build effective Custom Audiences, and therefore Lookalike Audiences. Lookalikes were big performers, but we’ve found that campaigns using interest stacking and Detailed Targeting Expansion have started outperforming them in some circumstances.

For more targeting tips, check out these 8 Tips to Prevail in the Battle of Facebook Ad Targeting vs iOS 14.

4. Retarget video views

Want to know a scary stat? 96% iOS14+ users have opted out of tracking. In many ways, you can understand it: most of us didn’t realize the extent to which Facebook followed us around the web. So from a libertarian perspective, it kind of makes sense.

But as a result, Facebook website retargeting campaigns are no producing the results they once did. But what is producing results for us lately is on-platform retargeting. In other words, keep users on Facebook because opting out of tracking doesn’t apply if the user stays on-platform.

And on-platform video views can be a super effective Facebook ad targeting strategy even after iOS.

App tracking opt-outs can be a total disaster for advertisers…unless you adapt to change. And video engagement campaigns just may be one way of holding down the fort for your accounts.

One of our clients—a well-known whiskey brand—saw a 76% reduction in cost per purchase when using video view retargeting versus their regular prospecting campaigns.

5. Use Facebook lead ads

Another on-platform strategy to generate leads on Facebook is through Facebook lead ads. These used to be the unwelcome guest at the party—the Maleficent that everyone avoided because they produced low-quality leads.

But we’re finding lead ads to drastically reduce our Facebook cost per lead, making campaigns more profitable. We recently launched a lead ad campaign for our agency and generated leads for less than $8.20 each.

Sure, you’ll still gather some low-quality leads, but the approach can make a difference to your profits due to the lower cost of leads ads. And you can use some simple lead qualification tactics to pre-qualify those clicks.

Plus, lead ads are trackable. Many iOS users go off the radar once they click on your ad because they’ve opted out of tracking. But lead ad clickers stay within the Facebook ecosystem. So while leads from external clicks can dissolve into the ether, leads from lead ads remain trackable. We recently launched a lead ad campaign for our agency and generated leads for less than $8.20 each.

Brett McHale has also found lead ads, as well as messenger ads, to be particularly effective in generating leads post-iOS 14.

6. Set up external tracking & reporting

One of the real tragedies of iOS14 is how it has negatively affected Facebook’s ability to report on results in Ads Manager. Here are three things to do about it.

Use the Facebook Conversions API

Setting up the Facebook pixel used to be all you needed to track and report on your Facebook ads, but with App Tracking Transparency (users can opt to not be tracked) and Google’s eventual depreciation of third-party cookies (which the pixel relies on), the pixel is losing its power.

To avoid underreporting results, it’s essential to start using the Facebook Conversions API (in conjunction with the pixel). The API doesn’t require cookies for tracking events because it connects your server directly to Facebook’s.

To implement CAPI in Business Manager:

Click on the burger menu. Go to Events Manager.
Select Add Events using the Conversions API.
The simplest way to add events using the CAPI is through Partner Integrations. Facebook provides partner-specific instructions once you’ve confirmed which partner hosts your website.

Use UTMs

You’ll also get a much clearer reflection of results if you also measure performance using UTMs and Google Analytics, as well as Facebook’s tracking.

Give yourself a 3-4 day buffer

Another reason reporting is slightly trickier now is that Facebook’s reporting is delayed up to three days, meaning conversions you’ve received from your ads in the previous couple of days may not show yet.

This is important to remember when reporting. Always give yourself a buffer of 3-4 days to ensure you have the most accurate data possible.

The reality is, there is no perfect way to track ad performance. So you need to find a way that works specifically for you.

Adapt and move on

We might look back one day on the great exodus of the 2021 opt-out and laugh. Like all significant cultural shifts, there’s a lot of panic and resistance initially, but those open to learning always catch the early worm. Either way, we adapt and move on. And that’s how we remain successful.

The big takeaways from all of this are:

Rebuild campaigns from Keep users on-platform and make use of on-platform tools
Implement external tracking to reinforce your campaign reporting
Stack interests to broaden your audiences (and Lookalikes)
Reset your campaigns for the new world
Optimize your ad account setup
If you try these strategies you should start to see an improvement in your campaigns, but as with anything Facebook ads-related, it’s all about testing. Test these strategies and find out which ones perform best for your business.

EnerSys (ENS) Lags Q2 Earnings and Revenue Estimates

This story originally appeared on Zacks

EnerSys (ENS) came out with quarterly earnings of $1.01 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.06 per share. This compares to earnings of $1 per share a year ago. These figures are adjusted for non-recurring items.

– Zacks

This quarterly report represents an earnings surprise of -4.72%. A quarter ago, it was expected that this maker of industrial batteries would post earnings of $1.20 per share when it actually produced earnings of $1.25, delivering a surprise of 4.17%.Over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates three times.EnerSys, which belongs to the Zacks Manufacturing – Electronics industry, posted revenues of $791.4 million for the quarter ended September 2021, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.14%. This compares to year-ago revenues of $708.4 million. The company has topped consensus revenue estimates two times over the last four quarters.The sustainability of the stock’s immediate price movement based on the recently-released numbers and future earnings expectations will mostly depend on management’s commentary on the earnings call.EnerSys shares have added about 2.4% since the beginning of the year versus the S&P 500’s gain of 24.7%.What’s Next for EnerSys?While EnerSys has underperformed the market so far this year, the question that comes to investors’ minds is: what’s next for the stock?There are no easy answers to this key question, but one reliable measure that can help investors address this is the company’s earnings outlook. Not only does this include current consensus earnings expectations for the coming quarter(s), but also how these expectations have changed lately.Empirical research shows a strong correlation between near-term stock movements and trends in earnings estimate revisions. Investors can track such revisions by themselves or rely on a tried-and-tested rating tool like the Zacks Rank, which has an impressive track record of harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions.Ahead of this earnings release, the estimate revisions trend for EnerSys was mixed. While the magnitude and direction of estimate revisions could change following the company’s just-released earnings report, the current status translates into a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) for the stock. So, the shares are expected to perform in line with the market in the near future. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.It will be interesting to see how estimates for the coming quarters and current fiscal year change in the days ahead. The current consensus EPS estimate is $1.31 on $856.2 million in revenues for the coming quarter and $5.10 on $3.36 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year.Investors should be mindful of the fact that the outlook for the industry can have a material impact on the performance of the stock as well. In terms of the Zacks Industry Rank, Manufacturing – Electronics is currently in the top 41% of the 250 plus Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.
More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!
It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market.
Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don’t buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Enersys (ENS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research

4 Easy Lead Qualification Strategies for Better Clicks & Conversions

4 Easy Lead Qualification Strategies for Better Clicks & Conversions

Racking up conversion metrics on your channels may look great. Having a click-through rate is something most paid media advertisers work towards. But if the majority of those users aren’t quality, then we are looking at vanity metrics.I like to tell many of my clients I’d rather have fewer leads that we know are likely to convert than waste a bunch of ad spend on users who are not a good fit for their goals.

Couldn’t resist.

And that’s where lead qualification comes in. In this post, I’m going to cover:

What lead qualification is and why it’s important.
How to identify your lead qualification parameters.
Four lead qualification strategies I use with my clients.
Read on to learn how to get leads that will convert into customers, and customers that will stay with you longer.

What is lead qualification?

Lead qualifications about making sure the leads you attract through your ads and other marketing assets are those who are most likely to drive your business goals. Qualified traffic to your website is more likely to take action there, and qualified leads are most likely to become customers. Lead qualification is essential for an effective lead generation process.

MQLs vs SQLs

In the B2B world, you may have heard of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs). MQLs are those who have shown interest in your product or service, but are probably not yet ready to buy—thereby making them qualified for, well, more marketing—namely, nurturing campaigns to move them down the funnel where they can convert from prospects to customers.

SQLs are those who have shown interest in your product or service and are very likely to buy.

Some leads come in as SQLs, while others start as MQLs, and with effective lead management and nurturing, become SQLs.

Why is lead qualification important?

It’s obvious that you want qualified leads coming in from your marketing efforts—you want to get more customers. But there’s a financial side to it too. If you’re running paid ads and you have a high click-through rate, that means you have an appealing offer and/or great copywriting. But is it appealing to your most likely customers?

If you’re pulling in tons of clicks, you may be paying less per click, but if you’re not getting conversions, what’s the good in that? You’re not really saving money, you’re wasting spend on unqualified traffic.

Speaking of wasted spend, find where yours is with our free Google Ads Performance Grader!

So while click-through rate and cost per click are important, your conversion rates are at the core of your ROI, and at the core of conversions is lead qualification.

How to identify your lead qualification parameters

Knowing your ideal customers and your target audience is essential for knowing what lead qualification looks like for your business. There are also a number of lead qualification formulas that could apply to your business, but the most basic one is BANT:

Image source

Budget: Can the prospect afford your products/services
Authority: Are they the ultimate decision-maker for the purchase?
Need: What is the need they’re looking to alleviate? Does it align with those of your long-time customers? 
Urgency: How urgent do they need this need met?
Your landing page copy and the information you request in your forms will help to qualify your leads, but that doesn’t solve for the issue of paying for unqualified clicks in the first place. In this next section, we’ll cover four ways to qualify your clicks.

Lead qualification strategies

These strategies enable you to improve your PPC lead quality before the user even gets to your landing page.

1. Be specific in your ad copy 

The easiest way to tell people they are not the customer you are looking for is to straight up tell them. It makes complete sense to use certain wording in your ads to and have unqualified users not click on your ad. I know in the PPC world it is tough to see a lower click-through rate. But click-through rates mean nothing if those leads are never going to convert into customers.

For example, I had a client that had a CRM product for startups and small businesses. While of course they targeted keywords like “small business crm,” they also targeted many generic CRM keywords that don’t mention “small business.” In these ad groups, we made sure we pre-qualified our leads with ad copy speaking just to small business owners.

With qualifying ad copy, you may be able to target broader keywords without wasted too much spend on unqualified clicks. 

We were letting searchers know if they worked for a company with more than 50 people, our CRM wasn’t right for them. Yes, our CTR in those ad groups decreased. But our lead quality increased. And since our CTR decreased, so did our costs. With lower costs and a higher conversion rate, our Cost/Conv. numbers noticeably went down. That is the most important metric to us. And when the quality gets better with a lower Cost/Conv, the decrease in CTR didn’t hurt us at all.

And if you were confused by all that metric speak, check out our Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics and it will all make sense!

2. Use price extensions

The same mentality can be applied to your ad extensions for paid search. If you have a more expensive product, you probably only want to reach users who have money. Call out the price or the status of your product in your ad extensions.

Good ‘ole sticker shock. If a user sees higher prices, and the user doesn’t have money, they’re most likely not going to click on the ad. I am now saving my ad budget for the right user later on. Not everything needs to be about price either. Maybe you adjust your value messages based on the right user. Make everything fit for the perfect audience you want to reach; not everyone who may be interested in your product.

3. Optimize lead forms for quality, not volume

Both Google and Facebook have lead form type settings for their lead forms. This gives advertisers the option to optimize either for more leads or more qualified leads. Of course, the channels’ default selection will be for more volume. They will encourage you to get more leads which will make your PPC reporting look great. But if you have tested lead forms in these two channels and received junk leads, consider switching your optimization settings to focus on higher quality.

Here is the Google Ads lead form extension option:

And here is the Facebook lead ads form type option:

You can see Google tries to scare us a bit. It warns that you may get fewer leads for a higher cost per lead (which is true). But I am always willing to pay more for leads that are more qualified and are easier for my clients’ sales teams to close. Feel free to create two different forms, one focusing on volume while the other on quality, to see which ones actually drive a more qualified user.

4. Add more questions in your lead forms

Many lead forms on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, etc. start off asking users for the bare minimum like name and phone number. In most cases, the fields are auto-populated based on the user’s profile information. This can make the form easy for someone to fill out and submit, but because it is so easy, you may not be pre-qualifying users.

The good news is, most of the channels that offer lead forms allow advertisers to ask more questions or customize questions. Here are some examples:

LinkedIn lead form custom questions

You can create custom questions in your LinkedIn advertising lead forms to ask users for more information. This will make them work a little more, but if they’re willing to spend a little extra time giving you more information, they could be more interested in your product. Also, you may ask questions that scare away unqualified users and that’s okay too.

Facebook lead ad custom questions

Just like LinkedIn, you can create custom questions for Facebook lead ad forms. You can have the user type in a response, choose from a list of options, or even create a conditional answer set based upon an uploaded CSV.

Google lead ad additional questions

Google has additional questions too, but you cannot customize them. Instead, you have a list of question options broken out by specific industries or categories. You can add multiple qualifying questions to your lead forms to get more information form your users. Many of them are multiple choice, so if a user doesn’t see the option that describes them in their questions, they most likely will not fill out the form.

Get more out of your budget with lead qualification

Internal data from your CRM will always help you make better optimization decisions to hone in on the right user. But whether you have CRM information or not, you can still put in some effort with your ad copy and lead form settings to try and qualify the user before they even visit your web site. You may see less traffic and less conversions. But if you are qualifying the right users, you will hopefully see better close rates and less churn. To recap, here are the strategies:

Use pre-qualifying ad copy.
Add price extensions to your Search ads.
Optimize lead forms for quality, not volume.
Add more or custom questions to your lead forms.
If you’re looking for ways to generate more leads, you may be interested in these posts:

63 Free Marketing Templates You Didn't Know You Needed

63 Free Marketing Templates You Didn't Know You Needed

Doing anything for the first time ever is really hard. I recently helped plan a big event and as a content marketer…well…let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite task. That’s why the spirit in the sky created marketing templates.

When you’re starting from scratch and you find a template.

I know that I would be lost and alone without so many of these templates. I’ve used them myself, as a constant employee of startups, and I can’t imagine what other marketers do without them. So if you want to be proud of building from the ground up while not reinventing the wheel, take a look!

We’ve got templates for big plans, small requests, and everything in between. Many of them are our own, but we’ve included plenty of templates from others just in case you get sick of us.

Have at it!

Marketing templates table of contents

Free marketing plan templates

LOCALiQ’s Small Business Marketing Plan TemplateOf course, we have to toot our own horn here. All we do is focus on helping small businesses succeed, and we have the marketing template to do just that.
LOCALiQ’s Growth Strategy TemplateLearn how to create your growth strategy in seven steps, and get the template to make it official!
WordStream’s SWOT Analysis ExampleWe use a fictional restaurant to create a full four-quadrant SWOT analysis that you can model after.

Monday.com’s Marketing Plan Template on InVisionInVision has tons of templates from brand name businesses. I am a fan of Monday.com, so I gravitated toward their version. Of course, you do need an InVision account, but you can sign up for free!
AddThis’s Free Marketing Plan TemplateThis is their “ultimate” template and guide combo. It instructs you how to create a marketing plan and offers not only their own template to download, but links to a few others as well.
Content marketing templates

My favorite! Titles, calendars, posts, research, and more! I love looking at marketing templates for content, partly because my organization can always use improvement and because this is a great way to learn about new tools.

WordStream’s 5 Tried-and-True Copywriting FormulasWhether you prefer the 4Cs, PAS, AIDA, BAB, or don’t even know what these acronyms mean, check out these five copywriting formulas with examples and tips on how to apply them to your own content.
WordStream’s 15 Mission Statement ExamplesHere we teach you how to write a powerful business mission statement, provide a few main templates, and then share 15 examples to model after.
WordStream’s Review Request TemplatesReviews are the number one ranking factor for local search. And the best part is, your customers are willing to write them, you just need to ask! Follow these tips and best practices for asking for reviews, with 12 copy and pasteable templates.
WordStream’s 4 Press Release Templates: Learn how to write a press release in seven steps, plus templates for event, award, new business, and new product launch press releases.
Content audit templates

WordStream’s Content Audit TemplatesKristen has you covered in this post on content audits, although she is a certain type of content writer who–wait for it–loves excel sheets. You heard that right. She is a magical unicorn of writers whose audit tips you need to steal. Immediately.

Curata’s Content Audit TemplateThis template comes with a full overview of how to execute a content audit, from the tools to use to execution. Curata even takes you through how to fill any gaps you find and structure a new content strategy.
Blog templates

Vital Dollar’s Blog Post Title TemplatesBlog post titles are my *least* favorite part of writing. Vital Dollar offers over 200 blog post title templates (bless) for us to use when we’re in need of a catchy headline. 
CoSchedule’s 101 Catchy Blog Title FormulasCombined with CoSchedule’s 101 blog title formulas, you should be set for every day of the year!
Free Google Ads templates

If you’re thrown into spending money on paid search marketing campaigns, but you’re not a demand gen marketer…these are the templates for you. And if you’re a seasoned demand gen marketer or paid search expert, it can’t hurt to brush up on your templates.

WordStream’s 34 Killer Google Ads TemplatesWith expanded text ads going away and the ever-evolving platform, Google Ads templates can be hard to come by. But we have some ad copy examples that you can still snag and use in your RSAs and more.
WordStream’s 7 Ready-Made Google Ads Headline FormulasAlong with these formulas, we’ve got some examples and shortcuts so you don’t have to write Google ads from scratch!
WordStream’s Cost Data Import TemplateDid you know that you can look at advertising costs for all of your channels (even those outside of Google) in Google Ads? Learn how here and use the free template provided.
Google Ads’ Template Ad BuilderWarning: this template ad builder is for TemplateAds specifically. But since we’re here to talk about templates, it’s worth a read if you’re not leveraging templated display ads already.
Zima Media’s Google Ads TemplateAre you a business owner trying to test the grounds for your first Google Ads campaign or a newbie marketer looking for some cool ideas? Check out Zima Media’s tips and tricks on how to write flawless Google Ads copy without making your brain melt.
Free Facebook ad templates

The possibilities are endless for Facebook ads—so where do you even start? Let these examples and templates guide you.

WordStream’s 7 Awesome Facebook Ad ExamplesIn this post, we take a look at some of the best Facebook ad examples we’ve seen, what makes them particularly effective, and how you can make your own Facebook ads more compelling.
AdEspresso’s Facebook Ad TemplateAdEspresso has 20 free Facebook ad templates for any type of business. They also have 20 additional downloadable templates!
Canva’s Free and customizable Facebook ad templatesOkay, Canva rocks for Facebook ad design. When I was at WordStream, I learned how to create blog headers and Facebook ads through Canva. They have thousands of templates and images to choose from, so go crazy.

Keyword research templates

No matter your brand voice, and no matter whether you’re writing paid ad copy or organic content, keywords are the backbone of your content. In addition to free keyword research tools, check out these templates:

Sheets for Marketers’ Keyword Research TemplatesWant to automate keyword research using the humble spreadsheet? Try these Google Sheets templates to speed up your process.mplate (available in Excel and Google Sheets). This template will help you do keyword research quickly and effectively.
Neil Patel’s SEO PackNeil Patel put together 21 SEO worksheet template packs, which are accompanied by expert advice on how to get start with SEO. 
Backlinko’s Marketing Keyword Research TemplateStreamline and organize your keyword research with this free te

Need help populating your sheet with conversion-rich keywords? Try our Free Keyword Tool!

Free social media marketing templates

Social media marketing templates are some of the most important to keep up to date. Social media platforms are constantly changing their offerings; even more so with iOS updates. Check out these social media marketing templates. And if you’re interested, check out our Local Social Media Marketing Lab for tons of post ideas.

Instagram templates

From image ideas to captions, we’ve got you covered.

LOCALiQ’s 80+ Instagram CaptionsOne post with over 80 ideas from Instagram captions. I personally come up with at least 3 different versions of captions before I post and it is ~stressful~. This post will help get the gears moving and get your post out to the world faster.

Adobe Sparks’ Free Editable Instagram PostsAdobe Spark Post offers professionally designed templates to get your wheels spinning or create your own post from scratch. Establish a theme for your designs using photos, icons, logos, personalized fonts, and other customizable elements to make them feel entirely authentic.
Canva’s Free, customizable Instagram post templatesSeems like I can’t include enough Canva templates in this post, but here we are again with tons of free instagram post templates for non-designers. 
Crello’s Instagram TemplatesCrello has an insane amount of templates–not just for Instagram–and they’re adding more all the time. Come here for inspiration, to create an Instagram post or Snapchat filter, and watch the engagement roll in.

Influencer outreach templates

You can’t just send an influencer any ol’ message. Use these templates to keep your emails out of their trash.

Upfluence’s Influencer Outreach Email TemplateWho better to tell you how to reach out to influencers than Upfluence? They have everything you need to personalize and maximize your outreach.
Flowrite’s Influencer Outreach EmailsHere are some best practices and examples for outreach emails, as well as ways to copy them.
Free email marketing templates

Email marketing! I’m embarrassed to say that I started out as an email marketer and my skills are rusty. I need these templates more than I like to admit, and if you’re anyone who does not practice email marketing full time, you likely need them too.

Email subject line templates

WordStream’s 34 Email Subject Lines to Increase Open RatesIn this post, we cover nine of the best email subject line styles to help you increase your open rates, along with 34 examples you can adapt to your business
LOCALiQ’s 40 Great Email Subject LinesWhether you’re a lawyer, dentist, real estate agent, or are just looking to get more opens, these tips and examples will help you reach your goals.
Marketing email templates

Email newsletter templates

WordStream’s 75+ Creative Newsletter Name Ideas & ExamplesYour readers are getting this email regularly, so make the name a good one! Whether it’s with alliteration, rhyming, or being quirky, use these 75+ ideas and examples to come up with your own great newsletter name.
LOCALiQ’s 75+ Newsletter Ideas & Examples for Every Month of the YearNo need to rack your brain every month trying to come up with something authentic. Use these ideas and examples so your readers will be looking forward to your monthly sends!
MailChimp’s 100+ Email and Newsletter TemplatesWhile these are exclusively for Mailchimp users, if you have a login, take a look. It’s worth it to see some best practices and get design inspiration.
Venngage’s 65+ Email Newsletter Templates Venngage offers over 65 templates PLUS design tips in this listicle, which is plenty of inspiration. Just add your brand colors, and bam! Email marketing at your disposal.
Email signature templates

WordStream’s 7 Brilliant Email SignaturesCheck out the latest trends in email signatures, and examples to show you how to copy them.
Mysignature.io’s Email Signature ExamplesMy Signature does email signatures for a living, but if you’re looking for great examples instead of a tool, you’re still in luck.
HubSpot’s  Email Signature Template GeneratorYes, I know this isn’t a template, but it’s a template generator. Which seems good enough for me. This free tool is actually pretty cool to use.

Networking email templates

WordStream’s 9 Networking Email TemplatesNo less than 27 email subject line examples and nine copy and pasteable email templates! Dive in and make some new professional friends.
The Muse’s 4 Networking Email Templates to UseThe Muse is my go-to for anything networking or interviewing, and these 4 templates are some of the best.
Career Contessa’s Networking TemplatesFor working women (and men, okay), Career Contessa takes you back to basics with these networking basics. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Free marketing calendar templates

Planning has never been easier! Take your pick:

LOCALiQ’s Ultimate Marketing Planning TemplateIn this post, we share monthly marketing calendar templates along with a year’s worth of event, promotion, and social media ideas. Creative marketing ideas galore! 

SmartSheet’s Free Email Marketing Calendar Template SmartSheet has 15 free email marketing calendar templates in their roundup. It’s hard to find an email-specific calendar template, which is able to include all the information you need, and SmartSheet has solid options.
Hootsuite’s Social Media Calendar TemplatesI’m only listing one social media template here because, well, it was the only one worth listing. Hootsuite has got social media scheduling down pat, and they offer 20 whole templates here! I’ve used Hootsuite’s templates, my intern now uses them, I’m a fan.
Airtable’s Content Calendar TemplateMy team used Airtable at a previous company and I became fully addicted–after I figured out how to use it. If you’re like me, your brain doesn’t organize content well within excel sheets and you need some project management tool help. Airtable’s templates are a great place to start.
CoSchedule’s Content Calendar TemplateIn this post, CoSchedule shows you how to build the perfect content calendar, keep it full with ideas, and make it easier for your marketing team to do their job.
Notion Everything’s Content CalendarI love everything about Notion, including their crowd-sourced Notion Everything templates. I currently use a Notion template for my content calendar and it is fantastic. Check out their library of templates and find inspiration.  
Landing page templates

Free sales forecast templates

Sales teams project future deals for your team through a forecast document. Online template costs typically range from free to under $100 and are usually designed for Excel or Google Sheets. Here are a few to choose from.

WordStream’s Sales Forecast TemplatesWordStream compiled nine sales forecast templates for your planning pleasure. These are the best they could find, so you don’t need to waste your time downloading templates that are simply not worth your time.
LOCALiQ’s Sales Funnel TemplateThe only sales funnel template you’ll ever need for your business! You’ll also learn the ins and outs of a sales funnel and why you need one.
Fit Small Business’s Sales Forecast Templates for Small Businesses To help you speed up forecast creation, Fit Small Business compiled this list of 15 templates designed for a variety of business use cases.
Free marketing budget templates

Keep your checkbook in check with these budgeting templates.

Smartsheet’s 12 Free Budget Templates You’ll see SmartSheet a few times on this list, for good reason. Anything you can do in spreadsheet, you can do it better through a SmartSheet template. Even better, they’ll give you a link to a free google sheets template, all set up and ready to go.
GanttPro’s Downloadable Budget TemplateEasily manage marketing projects with this downloadable marketing budget template.
Pipefy’s Marketing Budget TemplateThis is a free template through Pipefy’s platform, built to share. That means if you’re a marketing freelancer or agencies with clients, this is the one for you.

More free marketing templates

Just a couple more!

Canva’s Library of marketing Presentation TemplatesI can’t tell you how much I leaned on Canva when working for very early stage startups. Their extensive library of presentation templates will help get you budget, funding, plan a marketing strategy, you name it. 
Moo’s Business card templatesIf you’re looking for business cards, look no further than Moo. Their templates are built into their platform, so you can easily design and order your business cards all-in-one.

If you have a marketing template we should add here, let us know!

11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

Each October, my friends and I meet throughout the month to watch scary movies leading up to Halloween. But while it’s cool to be spooked in the fun times, it’s not cool to be spooked when you’re running a PPC account.

And unfortunately, there are some truly concerning stats out there that give us advertisers reason to be. So, in the spirit of Halloween, I’m sharing with you 11 actually scary stats that every PPC advertiser should know, and why you should be concerned.

But don’t worry! I’m going to turn these spooky statistics into not-so-scary tips that’ll save you from a PPC nightmare.

1. 94% of people skip over search ads

You read that right. 94% of searchers fly right by your search ads and onto organic results. On top of that, 41% of paid clicks go only to the top three ads on the page.  This means that your ad copy and ad rank matter more than ever.

What you need to do

First, make sure you’re regularly testing your ad copy. The responsive search ad format helps out with this, but it’s still important to run A/B tests. The right copy will have a higher click-through rate which will improve your ad rank. This will increase your chances of being a part of the percentage of ads that do pull in clicks, and make folks who usually jump to organic results stop in their tracks.

And most importantly, make sure your ads pack a punch with eye-catching and compelling ad copy! Here’s how:

(It also goes without saying that you should have a strong organic SERP presence too.)

2. 96% of iOS users have opted out of app tracking

Last year, just thinking about the infamous iOS14 update that would give users this option was scary. Now that the update is rolled out, it’s even scarier to know that 96% of iPhone users in the US have actually opted out!

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What’s scary about this is that it makes the Facebook pixel far less effective, which leads to inaccurate tracking data, which messes up your conversion tracking and targeting. Even worse, audience sizes are shrinking, causing CPMs to rise.

What you need to do

To work around this issue, be sure to:

3. 80% of advertisers rely on third-party cookies

Most paid advertising strategies are built around the third-party cookie. These cookies capture behavioral data which allows you to see how your ad clickers got to your site, what they did on your site, and what they did afterward—making it essential for conversion tracking and retarging audiences. Cookies also enable platforms like Google and Facebook to offer new audiences to target based on interests. 

With the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies, reporting and targeting as 80% of advertisers know it will be no more. Google, Facebook, publisher sites, and other platforms are coming out with new tools and technology to help advertisers navigate this shift, but you should be preparing now.

Here’s what you need to do

Strengthen your first-party data collection. Create lead magnets and build your email list with creative calls to action.
Set up the Google Ads tag on your site to track first-party data—even if you have tracking set up through an import. Go to Tools & Settings > Shared Library > Audience Manager >Audience Sources.
For Facebook, implement the Conversions API as mentioned above.
Get familiar with Google FLoC—which is scary in and of itself.
4. 60% of consumers intentionally provide bogus form info

Bad news for your lead qualification efforts. On top of this high percentage of form fakers, 81% of people have also abandoned at least one online form, and most won’t return to complete it. 

What you need to do

5. There are ad blockers on 615M+ devices worldwide

Due to more and more devices having VPNs or built-in blockers set up, that number of 615 million is most likely going to continue rising.

What you need to do

Sadly, there’s really no way of getting around ad blockers. However, a multi-channel strategy can make up for your losses by catching your audience elsewhere. For example,OTT adscan’t be skipped or blocked by ad blockers.

6. 40% of advertisers say their PPC budget is lower than they want it to be

Odds are, you’ve been in this position at some point on your PPC budgeting journey. With the demands of digital ads constantly changing, advertisers are feeling the heat. 40% of them say it’s getting harder and harder to maintain a competitive budget in such a heavily saturated space.

What you need to do

While slapping on more budget isn’t feasible for most, you can still get crafty to make your budget stretch further. Depending on your needs, you may need to:

For more PPC budgeting help, head to the following:

7. Only 10% of advertisers optimize their Google Ads accounts each week

Plus, 20% of account managers do nothing on their accounts within a single month. The bad news with this one? You could be a part of this statistic! The good news?Your competition could be, too

What you need to do

Kee an eye on your account and consistently make tweaks to prevent any unwelcome surprises from popping up.
Get into a PPC routine and be sure to audit your account regularly. To start, try scheduling just a few minutes per week, per month, and per quarter to check on specific areas of your account.

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Don’t know what to optimize? Find out in a minute with our Free Google Ads Performance Grader.

8. Online ads are the least-diverse media type in the U.S.

Only 9% of people claim digital ads are the most diverse media encounter they’ve had. In comparison, network TV ranked much higher at 43%. Moreover, 54% of people don’t feel culturally represented in online ads. From all angles, PPC is clearly lacking diversity in a major way.

What you need to do

People are attracted to brands that represent them—not just their pain points and lifestyles, but their cultural background too. We as advertisers can make an impactful change by implementing accessibility and inclusivitiy in our advertising. Plus, the more diverse your ads are, the more people you can connect with and attract. To do this:

9. 96% of consumers don’t trust ads

Remember earlier how I mentioned that the paid ad space is heavily saturated? We may have even done ourselves dirty according to this statistic.

Paid ads have been on the rise for a long time—so much so that people are becoming desensitized to them. And with 96% of consumers not trusting ads, advertisers have to work harder to prove their credibility.

What you need to do

A great way to start is by providing social proof. When you make a claim in an ad, people aren’t going to just take your word for it. They will, however, trust the word of a friend, family member, or fellow consumer. That’s why online reviews and reputation management are so important when running paid ads.
Another tactic is to include credibility “stamps” in your ads when possible. For example, you might include “NASSM-certified,” or “family-owned” in your ad copy.

You can also include awards and partnership badges in your landing pages. Moreover, try to opt in to attributes available to you, like woman-owned, black-owned, or veteran-owned to achieve that more personal, trustworthy touch.
10. 67% of people say that once a brand loses its trust, there’s no gaining it back

In addition to people being more skeptical of your ads 67% of consumers will lose trust permanently in a brand once said trust is broken—whether it’s due to false claims, damaged goods or services, a poor customer experience, or an uninentional mistake.

What you need to do

Don’t lose their trust, of course! But how can you do that?

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11. “Near me” searches increased 100% between 2019 and 2020

This stat is only scary if you’re a national or online brand. The sharp increase, of course, is due to lockdowns from the pandemic, but odds are that “near me” searches will continue increasing. We can use this statistic as a clue to understand today’s consumer habits.

What you need to do

Don’t fall victim to these scary statistics

Leave the screaming to the horror flicks and prevent your account performance from catching you off-guard. Awareness of these shocking data points is the first step to prevention. Like I always say, friends don’t let friends run bad PPC ads. So, to recap, here are my tips to avoid becoming a part of these scary PPC stats:

Always be tweaking and testing your ad copy so your ads won’t get skipped over.
Use the Facebook Conversions API to prevent data loss from iOS14 App Tracking Transparency.
Start collecting first-party data, and try Facebook’s conversion API.
Keep your forms concise and use lead forms to avoid fake form fills.
Leverage a multi-channel strategy to manage around ad blockers.
Get creative with your bidding and targeting to avoid budgeting shortfalls.
Get into a PPC routine and stick with it to keep your account optimized.
Cater your ads to everyone in your target audience so they will feel better represented.
Use social proof, partnerships, and unique identifiers to prove credibility.
Maintain brand consistency to safeguard against losing trust (forever!).
Always approach PPC from a small-scale, local perspective to keep up with consumer trends

The Top 10 New Instagram Features of 2021 (+One to Look Out For!)

The Top 10 New Instagram Features of 2021 (+One to Look Out For!)

Instagram helps you to grow your business, but you still have to run it at the same time! If you’ve been busy doing the bajillion things you do to keep your business in shape, you may have missed out on new Instagram features that can help you grow your business even more. When you log into Instagram and there’s a barrage of new features.

So we’re covering the top 10 Instagram features released in 2021 that you can use in your Instagram marketing strategy. They include:

Professional Dashboard
Live Rooms
Remix Reels
Stories caption stickers
Updates to Insights
Algorithm shift
Algorithm explained
Black-owned category
Location Stories
Maps search
We’ll be sharing tips and tricks on how to use each new feature to its fullest, plus an exciting soon-to-be new feature! Let’s dig in.

Feature #1: Professional Dashboard

Launched in January 2021, Instagram’s Professional Dashboard feature allows you to track your performance, access professional resources, and grow your business You can get insights on how your business is interacting with your followers as well as what time you may want to gear your posts based on when your audience is online. There are also branded content tools you can take advantage of along with tips and tricks to keep your business thriving on Instagram. 

Follow these Professional Dashboard tips to get the most out of this feature:

Stay Informed: No Seriously! That’s the name of the section in the Professional Dashboard where you will find other content creators’ tips on making the best and most engaging content for your audience.
Sell your products: There is a section where you can easily set up your products on your page, where potenial and current customers can purhase right from your social profile. After you set up your store, you can actually tag shoppable products in your posts and stories, making it that much easier to sell to your followers. (More on social shopping here!)
Post about 15 minutes before your peak: The “Most Active Times” section under “See All Insights” will help you capture your audience at an optimal time. For the best engagement, post about fifteen minutes before the optimal time for that day. 

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You may also be interested in our Complete Guide to Instagram Analytics.

Feature #2: Live Rooms

Launched in March 2021, Live Rooms allows more than one account to participate in the same Instagram Live session. Go live with your teammates or colleagues, influencers, other businesses, vendors, or even your customers. 

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Here are some helpful tips for Live Rooms:

Add three or more users to the live. You can invite up to three other users to join your live video. You could run a panel, get a discussion going, or even have different participants cycle through. As long as you and that account are following one another, they can join your session. 
Make a bite-sized podcast. A full podcast for yor business could be a major undertaking. Live Rooms could be your “bite-sized” podcast episodes where you provide tutorials, offer a Q&A session or even turn it into a talk show of sorts. Skies the limit! 
Join others’ live videos. If it’s too much pressure to host a live yourself, you can always jump into another person’s Live Room and contribute that way. It’s actually a great way to gain more followers from their account as well as engage with a new potential audience. 
You may also be interested in these 8 Tips to Create Incredible Instagram Live Videos.

Feature #3: Remix Reels

Have you ever been perusing on Reels and thought, “Hmmm, I could do this better?” Or wished you could share your thoughts on what’s going on in a particular reel? Launched in April 2021, you now can with Remix Reels!

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Remix Reels tips and tricks:

Incorporate others’ Reels into your own. Whether it’s expanding upon the already created reel, turning it into a duet, or adding funny comments to it, you can get super creative here based on what your audience wants to see. You also have the option to create the reel inside the app itself or upload an existing video, an option not offered by TikTok).
Expand your audience. That person gets notified if you use their content, so if they share it on their feed, you can increase your exposure to their audience. Note: if you select the three dots at the bottom and the option doesn’t show up to remix, then that person has turned that feature off. 
Don’t forget to adjust the audio. There are three lines at the top that you need to select before you hit next to make sure your audio will come through. 
Don’t miss our 20 Instagram Reels Ideas to Build Your Brand! 

Feature #4: Stories caption stickers

Also in April 2021, caption stickers for Stories were introduced, which automatically turns what you say into text. Just tap on Stickers and search for captions!

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Capture more viewers. Did you know 40% of people aren’t watching video with the sound on? This is a great opportunity to capture that audience. Using the captions sticker, you can auto-populate what you are saying in a video so that more people will watch it.
Keep it short. This feature only works for videos that are 15 seconds or less, so take care on all the information you need to share in a short snippet. 
Double-check for accuracy. It may not get the wording 100% right, so just tap on the words to edit any of them that aren’t accurate. 
Want to be more Stories-savvy? We’ve got posts for that!

Feature #5: Updates to Insights 

Instagram also made some general updates to their platform that have turned into great features for content creators. Many of these recent updates are targeted for Reels and IG Live, which will help creators engage more with their audience. 

Check Reels and Live insights. These will come in handy after you have made your Reel or gone Live with another user. It will show you what your audience liked and what they didn’t like. Along with if Instagram pushed your reel out or not based on potential engagement and algorithm compliance. You can use these to adjust what you do next. 
Expand your tracking period! With the new updates, you can now expand your tracking period from 30 to 60 days. You now don’t need a third-party tool to analyze more of your data. 
Focus on Accounts Reached. When you are in Insights Overview, check out the Accounts Reached section. This will break down your followers and non-followers which can be helpful, but also which type of content is getting the most attention. This way you can do more of what’s working or get out of your comfort zone and try to update the type of content you may need to improve upon.

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Feature #6: Instagram algorithm shift

Not actually a feature, but just as important! Instagram’s latest algorithm is said to favor fun and engaging video content. In June 2021, Instagram announced that it will not optimize for recycled content from other apps, such as TikTok. Before this recent update, users were missing about 70% of their posts along with 50% of their friends’ posts.

Write a longer caption with the video. This has actually shown to increase engagement and interaction on the platform where your audience will want to see the full video and not just keep scrolling. 
Branded intro and branded outro. This will keep consistency and make your videos on the professional video creation level. It needs to stay on-brand with your business so the user doesn’t get confused on what they are watching. 
Incroporate music. Also make sure these songs are copyright-free and you are using the right type of music for your video. Think about how you are trying to engage with your audience. If you are trying to give them an exciting update, then use upbeat music. If you are showing your audience something on the more serious side, then perhaps keep the music calm. 
For more great social media content ideas (and much more), head to our Social Media Marketing Lab!

Feature #7: Instagram explains how its algorithm works

Also not a feature, but big news. In the same month, Instagram decided to shed more light on exactly how their algorithm works. You can learn more here in these 9 Ways to Show Up in the Instagram Feed [New Info!], but some quick pointers:

Regularly publish Reels: Reels regularly will help boost your page outside your network and all organically! It doesn’t have to be that time-consuming either if you keep everything in a shortened format. Studies are showing that Reels are getting two times the reach than a normal post (as well as has longevity on the platform), so it only makes sense that you take advantage of how Instagram’s algorithm works. 

Cut down on the hashtags. Hashtags are losing their luster. The algorithm is getting more advanced in terms of categorizing for keywords (more on Instagram SEO here) and relying less on the use of hashtags in your posts. So maybe save some time and cut the normal 30 hashtags to about half or even less. 
Focus on video and shopping. Yes, the CEO of Instagram is telling you, straight from the source, that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app. It is now more focused on shopping and video content. He’s not saying photos are going away, but they will definitely be focusing their algorithm to give more videos and products a boost over photos. It’s time to get more creative on how you are utilizing Instagram than just pushing out a photo a day. 
That said, be sure to check out:

Feature #8: Black-owned business label

From Instagram: “Last summer through fall, there were over 1.3 million Instagram posts in support of “Black-owned” or “Black-led” businesses. And the number of businesses located in the US with “Black-owned” or “Black-led” in their profile increased over 50%”.

Support, support, support! With this new feature you can discover and support more black-owned businesses by engaging with their accounts and buying directly from them. 
Designate your business (if applicable). Set your profile to display under Black-Owned Shopping. You can make these updates on your profile and check the Instagram Help Center for more info. 
Find partnership opportunities. Maybe you aren’t a black-owned business but you want to be a part of the 15% Pledge. This is a great resource to use when trying to find businesses to partner with that are black-owned. 

Feature # 9: Location Stories (once again!)

This feature was removed in October 2020 due to election precautions, and finally, a year later, it’s back! With it, users can find Stories being published by accounts nearby—a great way to do some local social media marketing!

Feature #10: Maps search

In September 2021, Instagram began rolling out the Map search feature. The in-app map will show nearby shops, venues, and cafes, and if a user taps on one of the map items, Instagram will then show more information about the business like hours, address, pricing, their Instagram profile, and public posts tagged at that location.

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Bonus feature: Ads in the Shop Tab

True to its word that it will now be focusing on video and shopping, Instagram has begun testing a feature that will allow advertisers to show shoppable single image or carousel ads in the Shop Tab.

How do I stay on top of Instagram features and updates?

Instagram is constantly coming out with new features. Yes, it’s a little overwhelming, but don’t fret. Just take one tip a week or even a month and focus on how you can incorporate new features into your Instagram marketing strategy.  One great source for the latest updates is Embed Social’s Instagram Features & Updates. Stay in the know so you can increase your audience engagement and generate more sales for your business!

7 Things You MUST Do Before Expanded Text Ads Go Away

7 Things You MUST Do Before Expanded Text Ads Go Away

In September 2021, Google announced it will be sunsetting expanded text ads in June 2022. This is certainly a large change, but not a big surprise. Plus, Google has given us plenty of lead time.

All advertisers should take advantage of this time and make sure you’re ready when the June 2022 deadline takes effect. So today I’m going to share with you seven things you can work on in your account during this time period. They include:

Test expanded text ads now 
Set up new ETAs for future use
Prepare for declining impressions
Start using responsive search ads now
Establish RSA benchmarks
Pin strategically
Understand RSA reporting limitations
Let’s get started.

1. Test ETA message combinations while you still can

If you’ve been interested in running a specific ad copy test but haven’t gotten around to it yet…now is your time.

Prioritize ad messaging and get ETAs in place now—while you can see all the performance metrics at a granular level—to determine which headlines, descriptions, and combinations work best.

For help with ad copy and testing, check out these posts:

2. Create staged ETAs to use later

On June 30 of 2022, you will no longer be able to create new or edit existing expanded text ads…BUT existing expanded text ads will continue running and can be turned on/off as desired.

So with that in mind, I suggest you create as many expanded text ad combinations in your account that you believe you will reasonably use in the future. They can be paused to start, but remain waiting for a future test. This way, you retain the ability to use them since they were already created and all you have to do is turn them on and off.

But be realistic

You’ll notice I said, “that you believe you will reasonably use in the future.” That’s important. As in, don’t create and upload every single ad iteration you can possibly think of and then come back to me in a year and shake an angry fist at me for suggesting you bulk up your campaigns. That’s not my goal.

Think critically about which ad variants are important to you to test in the future and upload only the ones that you are confident you’ll use. There’s no need to upload 500 ad variants per ad group if you only test three new ad variants a quarter. Be realistic with this step, but don’t pass up on the opportunity to create the ad variants you want.

3. Be ready for declining ETA impressions

Although I think it’s important to take advantage of ETAs while we have them, I’m also realistic.

Even before this change was announced, we were seeing declining impression counts on expanded text ads compared to responsive search ads in many accounts. My hunch is that trend will continue.

Test as many messages as you can, stage creatives for future tests, but have the expectation that as we get closer to and past the June deadline, RSAs will likely continue to take an increasing percentage of impressions away from ETAs.

4. Activate responsive search ads now

Google’s standard suggestion is that you have at least one responsive search ad active in every ad group of your account.

At this point, I’m on board with them.

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, RSAs are going to be the new norm within all Google Ads accounts, so it’s in everyone’s best interest that you start getting used to them now. The longer you hold out, the more you’re going to be struggling once the deadline hits.

If you aren’t familiar with them, head to this post: Responsive Search Ads 101: Best Practices You Need to Know 

5. Establish RSA benchmarks

RSAs nearly always have a higher click-through rate than ETAs. (Notice I said “nearly always.” Don’t @ me with your exceptions.)

Conversion performance, on the other hand, varies widely. Some accounts do very well with responsive search ads and others can really struggle when it comes to getting customers over the final finish line.

Get RSAs active in all ad groups of all search campaigns in all of your accounts now so you can start establishing benchmarks for each specific account. This will be very, very handy when you have to answer to your boss or client about changes in performance.

We began testing a new ad format that is going to be the default moving forward. Rather than giving you generic benchmarks, we tested these in your account specifically and here is the range that we can expect moving forward.

Even if the benchmarks are lower than previous performance, I can guarantee you’ll soften the blow by establishing clear expectations early on. This is the key to building client relationships that last.

6. Pin strategically

One feature of responsive search ads is the option to pin certain headlines and descriptions in place. Note that ads will still always be two headlines and one description at a minimum, with the option for Google to extend them to three headlines and two descriptions, but ads will never be longer than that. Here are some important tips with regard to this functionality. 

Use pinning to ensure a CTA in every ad

Not every headline and/or description needs to have a call to action included, but every ad, of course, should. Pin certain components to ensure that every ad variant that’s eligible will contain a call to action.

Pin multiple components to the same position

If you have a few headline variants that are fairly similar, you can pin them all to the same position. As a result, only that group of headlines will show in that position and not anywhere else. This is a great way to treat call to action headlines. You can create four different CTA headlines and pin them all in position two so that placement will always contain one of those four CTA headlines.

Either pin everything or leave gaps

If you have elements pinned to all five ad positions and then also have elements that are not pinned, those unpinned elements will not show. To prevent this, either pin all ad components to a placement or be sure to leave some headlines/descriptions open for Google to dynamically create ad copy for you.

Understand how ad strength works

Ad strength is NOT to be confused with Ad Rank or Quality Score. The ad strength score within Google Ads is designed to give you guidance on seeing better results from RSAs, but it doesn’t impact how often your ad will enter the auction. If you have nosy clients or managers that are regularly in accounts who will pay attention to this, be sure they understand how this metric works. Google explains ad strength here.

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Make ETAs with the RSA framework

Responsive search ads only require three headlines and two descriptions to be added to a campaign and run. You can also pin elements wherever you like within your RSAs.

Ergo…you can basically make an expanded text ad by creating responsive search ads with minimal ad components and pinning them all in place.

Be careful with this

Although this might seem like an appealing option and one that might make sense for users with legal requirements or disclosures, I don’t suggest it for everyone. In the long run, Google Ads is only going to further automate your ad campaigns. The sooner you’re able to adapt and lean into its machine learning to see better results rather than maintain a tight chokehold, the better off you’ll be.

There really are quite a few ways you can customize RSAs to be exactly what you want/need them to be if you take the time to set them up properly.

7. Understand RSA reporting limitations

The reporting for RSAs is also a bit different than ETAs. We’re still able to see the performance at an ad unit level for all the metrics we would want to see. But if you’re leveraging any level of dynamic ad serving, you’ll likely not be able to get an exact picture of which ad combination generated results.

In the image above, you can see the performance for each ad unit, but since the responsive search ad is leveraging dynamic headlines and descriptions, we’re not totally sure which combinations created the performance.

View asset details

By clicking on the “View Asset Details” link below the ad, you can get further insights into performance.

Unfortunately, these further details are very lackluster and don’t always provide the full insights we would like. You’ll notice that all stats are removed aside from impressions. So although you can tell which components were shown the most, you won’t actually know which ones assisted in each aspect of the ad’s performance.

Get a true read on your performance with our Free Google Ads Performance Grader.

Asset performance rating

Additionally, you’ll notice Google has an asset performance rating system:

Pending: No information on the asset yet.
Learning: Not enough information on the asset yet.
Low: One of the lowest performing of its type. May want to replace.
Good: Performing well relative to other assets of its type. Keep and add more.
Best: One of the best of its type. Keep and add more.
Unrated (“—“): Rating not available due to insufficient activity, traffic, or number of similar assets to compare against.
These are…pretty unhelpful if you ask me. But they do give some indicator on what Google is seeing performance-wise for each component.

The important thing about these scores is they DO NOT correlate directly to conversion performance. Just because a component is rated Best, it doesn’t mean it’s generating conversions. To find that out, you’ll need to pin some ad components in place and get more firm data.

Check the Combinations tab

Lastly, you can see some ad combinations by clicking on the Combinations tab up at the top of the asset details page.

Similar to the other page, you’ll still only see an impression count, but depending on how evenly your combinations are being shown, you may be able to infer which variants are driving the performance your ads are seeing.

Be ready for the sunsetting of expanded text ads

Whether you’re upset or indifferent about the change, it’s important to take advantage of the time that you have before the deadline to ensure your account is in as strong of a position as it can be. Whether you focus more on ETAs or RSAs will depend on what you currently have active in your account.

All in all, fight the urge to hold onto your control too tightly by pinning components in all areas or limiting dynamic learning, but don’t accept all “best practices” from Google as the best option for your account. Use this time to test, learn, and iterate, and you’ll be ahead of your competition when the rollout is complete.

You may also be interested in these 5 Ways to Use Responsive Search Ads to Maximize Your ROI.

The 8 Best (Free!) Facebook Ads Courses of 2021 for Every Learning Level

The 8 Best (Free!) Facebook Ads Courses of 2021 for Every Learning Level

The best way to learn is by doing. The thing is, if you’re looking to learn Facebook ads, “doing” involves spending money and competing against thousands of other businesses. So if you’re not careful, trial and error can quickly turn into trial and [drain your budget and morale] error.

Fortunately, there’s a slew of Facebook ads training and courses out there to get off on the right foot. So in this post, I’m going to share with you the eight best Facebook advertising courses currently available—all of which are free! For each course, I’ll provide the course type, length, level, and who it’s best suited for. 

The best Facebook ads courses for all levels

These courses are provided by influencers and experts in Facebook advertising. Use them to problem solve, learn new tips and tricks, or optimize for a specific goal. 

 1. WordStream’s PPC University Facebook Ads course

Type: written content with screenshots
Good for: all levels of advertisers who want to stay competitive and get the most of their budget
Length: varies 
WordStream’s free Facebook ads course has been a thought leader in online advertising for over 12 years, and is the creator of the Free Facebook Ads Performance Grader—an account audit and optimization tool that gets run 10k times a month!

In our Facebook Ads course, we provide a series of 10-minute articles where top PPC influencers and experts share tips, tutorials, and strategies that have worked for them. You’ll learn nuances of the platform as well as benchmark data to be able to understand and optimize your performance. The lessons provide strategic advice on:

Facebook ad copywriting
Best time to run Facebook ads
Lowering your costs
Strategies for local businesses
Must-know Facebook ad optimizations
What to do if your ads aren’t showing
Targeting and retargeting
Facebook advertising benchmarks

2. Kai Bax’s Ecommerce Facebook Ads Training 

Type: YouTube video with people talking and screen sharing
Good for: all levels looking to scale their ecommerce ROI through Facebook
Length: one hour
Kai Bax’s free ecommerce Facebook ads course comes from Kai himself, an ecommerce marketing influencer and founder of Bax Consulting, an agency focused on scaling ecommerce and info product businesses.

In this one-hour YouTube tutorial, Kai shares the process his agency uses to scale growth and revenue for its clients through Facebook advertising. He takes you from basic setup all the way to reporting, with commentary and tips to maintain profitability at every step. Just be prepared—he’s intense! (In all the best ways; he’s clearly passionate.) You’ll learn:

Account and campaign setup
How to measure your ads
Columns to use in reporting
How to make metrics-based decisions
Checklist to keep your ROAS on track to scale revenue 

The best Facebook ads training courses for beginners

These Facebook training courses are geared for beginners looking to understand Facebook advertising on a general and conceptual level. They are good for people looking to get familiar with Ads Manager and set up their first campaign

3. Simiplilearn’s Social Media Certification Program 

Type: eLearning video with animation, talking heads, screen sharing
Good for: beginners looking to run their first Facebook ad campaign
Length: 1.5 hours
Simplilearn’s free Facebook ads course was created by Paul Lewis, a Social Media and Digital Selling expert and lecturer for universities and corporate training organizations. It’s on an eLearning platform, so you can clearly see and move back and forth between lessons. It is comprehensive for social media marketing (totaling 49 hours), but lessons 7-10 are for Facebook advertising specifically.

When you go to the link below, click “Start Learning,” and create your free account (no credit card required). You’ll then have unlimited access for 90 days. In these lessons, you’ll learn:

How Facebook advertising works
Facts, stats, and terms to know
Walkthrough of Ads Manager
How to set up your first campaign
Campaign review, tracking, and reporting 

​​4. Facebook Blueprint’s Facebook training modules

Type: written content with visuals
Good for: beginners who want to understand Facebook Ads Manager and Commerce Manager
Length: 1-2 hours
Blueprint’s free Facebook ads training comes to you from Facebook, the world’s largest social media channel and now….Meta. The advantage with this content is that it’s always up-to-date. Plus, the courses are modular so Facebook mixes and matches them to create training tracks based on different learning goals.

When you go to the link, look for “Select a topic to get started” and choose “Start your advertising journey.” Between the start advertising and sell your products tracks, you’ll learn how to:

Set up your campaign objective and targeting.
Choose your placements and budget
Use Facebook Ads Manager 
Manage inventory with product catalogs.
Set up your shop and use Commerce Manager.

The best intermediate Facebook ads training courses 

In addition to basics and instructions, these courses cover the next layer of topics and concepts in Facebook advertising, along with general suggestions and best practices.

5. Andrew Zeng’s Facebook Ads Tutorial

Type: YouTube video with animation, talking heads, screen sharing
Good for: beginner to intermediates looking to grow an online business with Facebook
Length: 33 minutes
Andrew’s free Facebook ads tutorial comes from…wait for it…Andrew Ethan Zang, an expert in digital marketing, ecommerce, and online business. This 30-minute YouTube tutorial takes care of the usual setup basics, but goes into more depth on ad creative, funnel strategy, and campaigns using the conversions objective and engagement objectives.

Andrew provides time stamps and links to resources in the description for easy navigation. He also covers the basics of the marketing funnel and generating popularity and demand. You’ll learn:

Facebook ads account vs Facebook Business Manager
The anatomy of a Facebook ad
Creative design and tools
Ad setup, scheduling, and policies

6. Alison’s Facebook Advertising for Beginners course

Type: slides and screen sharing with voiceover
Good for: beginners to intermediates who want to know the dos and don’ts of Facebook advertising.
Length: 1.5 hours
This free Alison Facebook ads course is brought to you by Theo McArthur, an expert online marketer and Amazon seller. Like Simplilearn, it’s provided through an eLearning platform so you can move between specific chapters and take a course assessment. It does, however, have eight-second ads before each lesson, unless you go for the premium monthly plan.

The training offers a mix of general setup instructions, suggestions and best practices to follow, and common mistakes to avoid. You’ll learn:

Types of Facebook ads
Page and pixel setup
How to run a likes campaign
Custom conversions
Audience insights

7. Hubspot’s Facebook Ads Dollar-a-Day course

Type: eLearning video with animation, people talking, slides, and screen sharing
Level: beginner to intermediates looking to run Facebook ads on a budget
Length: 36 minutes
Hubspot’s free Facebook training course comes from Facebook expert and BlitzMetrics CTO Denis Yu. This strategy was designed by Dennis himself to focus on using frequent, lightweight touches to get widespread exposure on a budget. You’ll learn:

What the Dollar-a-Day strategy is all about
How to set up and measure it, with a strategy worksheet
How to build ad sequences with targeting/retargeting
How to create winning Facebook video ads

8. Coursenvy’s Facebook Ads Mastery Class 

Type: YouTube video slideshow with voice overlay
Good for: beginners to intermediates who want to understand Facebook campaign objectives.
Length: 1h 20m
Coursenvy’s free Facebook ads mastery course is essentially a written course turned into a slideshow with someone reading the content (but it’s not mind-numbing). So there isn’t any animation but every slide is an informative screenshot with tips overlaid on top. 

The course takes a deeper dive into the different Facebook advertising campaign types, sharing what each one is and how to set them up for success. It also covers additional topics like dynamic ads and budgeting—all with examples and pro tips. You’ll learn:

Facebook advertising terms to know
Account and campaign setup
Objectives to choose based on goals
Budgeting tips
Split testing
Facebook Dynamic Creative ads

The 8 best free Facebook ads courses (full list)

WordStream’s PPC University Facebook Ads Course
Kai Bax’s Ecommerce Facebook Advertising Course
HubSpot Academy’s Dollar-a-Day Strategy Course
Simiplilearn’s Social Media Certification Program
Facebook Blueprint’s Facebook Ads Modules
Andrew Zeng’s Facebook Ads Tutorial
Alison’s Facebook Advertising for Beginners
Coursenvy’s Facebook Master Course 
More ways to learn Facebook ads

What we have in PPC U only scratches the surface of content we have for you to learn Facebook ads. We’re always coming out with new posts to help you keep up with this evolving platform. Here are some more resources for you.

Learn Facebook ads costs

Learn Facebook ads optimizations

Learn Facebook ads post-iOS 14

Apple’s iOS 14 update and Google’s upcoming deprecation of third-party cookies have caused upheaval in the world of Facebook advertising. Targeting, tracking, and reporting is becoming more difficult. These posts will guide you through:

You now have more than enough material to understand, get started with, and succeed through Facebook advertising! Time to jump into the metaverse…

How to Write a Great Press Release in 7 Steps (with Templates!)

How to Write a Great Press Release in 7 Steps (with Templates!)

When something important happens in your business, it’s common to write a blog post, share the news on social media, and even spread the word through email. These are great, but one thing businesses often forget is the press release.Press releases can amplify your reach, generate leads, and even build connections with influential media outlets.

That is, if you do it right. 

In this guide, we’re sharing how to write the perfect press release. This includes:

The seven essentials for any press release.
How to write a press release for four different scenarios.
Free press release templates to help you get started.
Let’s dive in so you can write a press release that gets picked up and spreads the word about your business.

How to write a good press release

When you’re putting in the time to write a press release, you want to make sure it’s effective and the results are worth your team. Here’s how to write a solid press release that includes all the information you’ll need:

1. Start with an attention-grabbing title

You want people to write or tweet about your announcement to generate press and buzz for your business. That starts with reading your press release. And that, my friends, starts with your headline.Make sure you clearly summarize the announcement with a strong, descriptive verb. Take a look at this press release example from Ace Hardware:

The headline reads:

Ace Hardware Reveals Top Grills and Grilling Accessories for Holiday Gifts this Season

“Reveals” implies both that the items have been under wraps and that the public has been awaiting this announcement.  Also, “for Holiday Gifts this Season” explains the purpose of the press release and draws the reader in.

Plus, it’s short and sweet—which is key. Cision, a press release software, analyzed more than 40,000 press releases from 2020 and found that the ideal length for a press release headline is 70-90 characters.

Image source

2. State the announcement & its significance in your intro

As with any news article, the introduction of your press release needs to answer all five W’s right off the bat: who, what, where, when, and why it matters. Take the introduction in the MasterClass press release example below.

It reads:

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, today announced that Yo-Yo Ma will teach a class on music and connection. Sharing philosophies that he’s developed alongside stories from his legendary career, Ma unpacks how to better collaborate, connect with art in new ways, and expand relationships through music. Ma’s class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 100+ instructors with an annual membership.

If I only read the introduction to this press release, I have all the information I need.

Where: San Fransisco
When: October 21, 2021
Who: MasterClass, an online learning streaming platform. 
What: Announced that Yo-Yo Ma will teach a class on music and connection.
Why it matters: A musician with a legendary career will be sharing his philosophies with subscribers.

This introduction does a great job fitting in the description of the company, the impact, the new class, Yo-Yo Ma, and even a soft sell direction for more information. Well done.

3. Expand on why this announcement matters in the body

When you get to the body of your press release, use this space to give your readers more information. This is the ideal place to incorporate quotes from experts or images to make the content more engaging. In the body of the MasterClass press release is a photo of Yo-Yo Ma and a reaction from the founder and CEO of MasterClass.

The photo is great for encouraging readers to stay on the page longer, but the quote here is even better. Rogier explains what the class offers students and why this is a significant release for the MasterClass community.

That’s exactly what you want to do in the body of your press release—give the information on what’s happening and why it matters for your company and your audience.

4. Stick to a formal, authoritative tone

You want your press release to grab attention and keep your audience engaged, but it’s important to remember that this is a statement on behalf of your business to the general public. It isn’t a blog post from your CEO or a whitepaper supporting a product launch. It’s the company’s official announcement, so it needs to have a formal, authoritative tone. 

You can certainly write a blog post supporting that news in a more conversational and subjective manner, but the press release itself should be informative and objective.

5. Use active voice

Active voice is more appealing and clear in any good writing, but it’s especially important in press releases. You’re trying to convey information about a company to the public, and you need to effectively share who did what. Active voice occurs when your subject performs your verb (e.g., I wrote the press release), as opposed to passive voice where the subject receives the verb (e.g., The press release was written by me). Active voice is the best way to share who did what.

It also turns out that it’s the best way to get traffic. Cision even found that press releases with active verbs in headlines got more views than their passively constructed counterparts.

Image source

Writing in active voice will make your press releases stronger and clearer—and this is good when there’s no room for confusion. 

6. Be concise

Your press release doesn’t need to be long—in fact, it shouldn’t be. The goal of this content is to make a formal, public announcement. That means your ideal length is simply how long it takes to explain your announcement and its significance.

In fact, Cision found that the majority of press releases on its platform in 2020 were 400 words or less, and overall the average length was 686 words. The company also found that after a certain point, the longer the press release got, the shorter time people spent reading. You can learn how to write concise copy here.

TL;DR: Try to stick to 500 words or so in your press releases. (Image source)

7. Give the reader an action to take

If your ideal reader finishes your press release and wants more information, you need to make it clear where they should go. Otherwise, you’ll lose the opportunity to engage the reader or convert a potential customer. Not the outcome you want after you spend your time and effort writing a press release.

So include follow up instructions at the end of your press release. This will likely vary with the content of your release—it could be a well-written landing page to sign up for a trial for your product being released or directions to attend the event you’re promoting.

Take this example from Smith College’s press release about replacing loans with grants.

Image source

It reads:

Additional information about the financial aid initiatives Smith announced today is available in an online FAQ.

 This makes it easy for anyone interested to click to the FAQs and get all the information they need about the announcement and how it could impact them.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about what you want to pay attention to when you’re drafting some common press releases.

How to write a press release for an event

A press release is a great way to supplement your event marketing strategy. By releasing an official statement, you can alert the media to all of the relevant details in one easy document. This is great for two reasons:

First, media coverage will help get the word to any interested attendees. Second, it’ll increase the chances of getting your event covered, as well. It’s great to have your upcoming event get press—it’s even better to have the impact of your event written up, too.

Event press release example and tips

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When you’re writing a press release for your next event, be sure to:

Share who the event is for. Who is your ideal audience? This might seem awkward, but you should explicitly state this since it’s not always clear. For example, your company’s baking competition could be for anyone over 14 or it could be for local pastry chefs in the area. There’s a huge difference there, so err on the side of caution. (Plus, you don’t want to have to turn away an aspiring 14-year-old who shows up with spatula in hand at your door.)
Explain the significance of the event. Why does your event matter for your company and your community? If you’re hosting that baking competition to find the next best pastry chef in your city, that’s significant. If it’s the fifth year you’re hosting and other winners have gone on to open their own businesses, that’s also worth mentioning.
Include registration or ticketing details. How can someone attend your event? Make sure the end of your press release includes whether tickets are for sale or free, whether registration is required or not, as well as key information about deadlines and event dates.
Event press release template

Here’s an event press release template to get you started.

How to write a press release for a product

When you’re launching a new product, you want customers and brand advocates engaging on social media, industry writers mentioning the updates, and any other buzz you can get. Writing and distributing a press release will help with that.

Product press release example

Read this press release

When you’re writing a press release for your new product:

Share an overview of the product. What is your new product? In the body of your press release, outline what your new product is, what it does, and how to get it.
Stress the benefits. How does your product help? This isn’t product copy, but you still want to focus more on benefits than features. By doing this, you’ll also help make it clear who your new product is for—key information to include in your release.
Describe how it fits with your business. Why this new product? Explain how the product fits your company’s mission, compares to your other offerings, and/or serves your current customers.
Product press release template

Here’s a product launch press release template to get you started

How to write a press release for a new business

A press release when you’re launching your business is a tried-and-true way of generating buzz—even when you don’t necessarily have the industry following or the connections that established businesses might.

Product press release example

Read this press release

In the press release for your launch, be sure to:

Explain your purpose and your goals. Why does your company exist? Sharing your goals and purpose in your launches helps generate more press than explaining what your business does. Your story is always going to be more compelling, so make sure to use it. This is a perfect way to start introducing your brand.
Share any funding details. If you raised any pre-seed funding rounds, be sure to include that in your press release—especially if you have any backers from the industry you’re working in or with their own following.
Include a CTA. Do you want people to sign up for your beta? Follow your progress on social? Go to your website? Whatever it is, include that call to action in your press release. You’re just starting out so if you get eyes on your brand, you want to keep them.
Product press release template

Here’s a business launch press release template to get you started.

How to write a press release for an award

Winning an award is exciting! You want people in your network and companies in your industry to know when your business or members of your team have been recognized for their hard work and achievements. A press release is a great way for getting the word out soon. Even in the long term, it can be good to make this information public so that potential new hires, new partnerships, or even new customers can review your accolades. This establishes your business as an authority and encourages trust.

Award press release example

Read this press release

When writing a press release about an award, be sure to: 

Explain why the award is significant. Why is this award worthy of a press release? If it’s recognition for an exceptional leader, say so. If it’s a culmination of your company’s hard work, include that. If it’s rare for a company of your size to win, include that. These details will make the story more compelling.
Include a quote from someone on your team. Winning an award is an exciting achievement, and including a reaction from your team helps convey that you’re treating it that way. Make sure the quote is from someone related to the win.
Share what’s next for your team. What will you do with this momentum? Writing a press release for an award is an excellent opportunity to share what your company’s plans for bigger and better are—use it.
Award press release template

Here’s an award press release template to get you started.

More press release templates

If you’re looking to write a press on something other than the four scenarios mentioned above, here are some additional resources: 

Jotform’s 12 press release templates for books, concerts, new hires, nonprofits, and more.
Smartsheet’s seven press release templates for business news, social media, email, and more.
Template Lab’s 46 press release templates for website launch, vendors, survey results, and more.
Use these press release examples, templates & tips to generate buzz for your biz

That was a lot! The good news is, you don’t have to write all of this now. Give yourself a headstart for some common press releases and be sure to bookmark these templates to use whenever you need them. And to recap, here are the seven steps you want to follow to write an effective press release, regardless of the topic:

Start with an attention-grabbing headline
State the announcement and its significance in your intro
Expand on why this announcement matters in the body
Stick to a formal, authoritative tone
Use active voice
Be concise
Include follow up